Ban on Indian content: notice to Pemra, Centre -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Ban on Indian content: notice to Pemra, Centre

Pakistan Press Foundation

LAHORE: The Lahore High Court chief justice on Friday issued notices to the federal government and the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) on a petition challenging a ban on broadcasting Indian content on television.

M/s Leo Communications had filed the petition assailing a circular issued by Pemra on Oct 19, 2016 for being ultra vires of the authority’s rules and the Constitution of the country.

As the proceedings started, Taffazul Haider Rizvi advocate argued that the petitioner-company was granted a 15 years licence by Pemra in 2010 to operate a cable channel by the name of “Filmazia.” He said under the licence conditions, the channel was allowed to broadcast 10pc foreign content, including Indian. He said the channel became very popular, however, Pemra without any prior notice issued a circular on Oct 19, 2016 abruptly banned all Indian content on cable channels in Pakistan.

Mr Rizvi argued that without assigning any reason the sudden proscription sounded a death knell for the channel as it had made substantial investment in purchasing the Indian content and its ratings took a nosedive due to the ban. He said the government was indulging in ‘selective patriotism’ as Indian movies had been allowed to be screened across the country.

Chief Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah issued notices to Pemra and the federal government and sought replies about the justification of the impugned circular when Indian movies were already being screened. The counsel for Pemra and the government present in the court received the notices. The hearing was adjourned until Feb 9.
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