Cable operators flout ban on Indian channels
LAHORE: Whether it’s because of the demands of fans of Indian soap serials or the business minded cable operators, Indian entertainment channels are back on air in Pakistan despite the ban imposed on them by the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority on the orders of the Supreme Court of Pakistan (SC).
Indian TV channels including Star Plus, Colors, Zee Cinema, Star Gold and others are being shown by cable operators on customer demand. In some areas, the logos of these channels have been changed to escape repercussions.
A cable operator in Lahore, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said he had to run his business and couldn’t do it without airing Indian channels. “People were complaining and said that these channels should be shown. They threatened to remove their connections and hire the services of other cable operators who are running Indian channels. “
Local producers and actors were quite happy when the Indian channels went off air, because an increase in the ratings of local entertainment channels was expected as a result of the ban. However, people have had a mixed response about the channels being illegally shown by cable operators.
Farzana Nauman, a house wife, told The Express Tribune that the SC orders should be strictly implemented and that Indian channels should not be shown in Pakistan. “These soap serials are just bad entertainment. Young children are learning improper language because of these shows. Soap operas don’t have any theme except inter-family conspiracies and they cater to the taste of a very limited class. This is a very good decision of SC to ban these channels and cable operators must be penalised for illegally showing them,” she said.
Maham Ahmad, another housewife, has different views. She said that Indian channels shouldn’t be banned and the choice should be left to viewers who can decide what to watch and what not. “This is an age of technology. Those who cannot watch Indian channels through cable can do it through satellite dishes. Are we only trying to deprive poor people from the entertainment they like?” she questioned.
Cable Operators Association Pakistan (CAP) Central President Captain (retired) Jabbar Ahmad Khan told The Express Tribune that cable operators had suffered after the ban on Indian channels. “By and large cable operators are not running these channels. Some cable operators might have been running them with altered logos but we are following the orders,” he said. Khan said that people who could afford to were buying satellite dishes and enjoying the channels of their choice but those who had signed up with cable operators were being deprived. He said that cable operators would soon go on strike against the ban on Indian channels. “Our business will shut down if these channels are banned permanently. Currently an average cable operator is showing 60 channels while before the ban he used to show 80 channels,” he said.
Khan also said that the Chief Justice of Pakistan had asked Pemra to make lists of those cable operators who were defaulters, adding that this is going to be very hard time for cable operators.
A Pemra representative told The Express Tribune that Pemra was taking action against cable operators who were defying the ban; including seizing the equipment and revoking the licenses of those found doing so.
Source: The Express Tribune