Cable operators showing illegal channels to lose licence
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) on Thursday launched a countrywide crackdown on cable operators showing illegal satellite channels.
Although no violations were reported from the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad, Pemra enforcement teams launched operation against 70 cable TV networks across Punjab, Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Equipment and gadgets of 50 cable TV networks were impounded for showing illegal channels in Lahore, Faisalabad, Multan, Jehlum, Jhang, Gujranwala, Hassanabdal, Attock, DI Khan, Karachi, Hyderabad besides several more.
Pemra Chairman Mushtaq Malik said, “Since our headquarters are in Islamabad, cable operators here are careful. Our teams keep visiting cable operators in the twin cities, which is why violations are almost non-existent.”
He said Pemra had been warning cable operators to observe law, besides publishing notices in print media with a list of eligible channels to be strictly adhered to. He said that crackdown on defiant cable operators was coming, since they had been constantly challenging the writ of the authority.
“There are 2,500 cable operators across the country. The operation against them for violating law is complaint driven. The action is immediate,” Mushtaq Malik said.
Pemra said it would cancel licences of major violators whose systems had also been seized on account of violation.
The authority said it had been receiving complains from all corners that cable operators had been showing proscribed channels. Pemra had shut down about 86 illegal channels of various genre on distribution networks besides imposing penalties ranging from Rs100,000 and above.
Following Supreme Court orders, Pemra had taken some of the channels off air. Describing them as illegal and unregistered channels, Pemra had instructed cable operators to block the streaming of Sony, Star Plus and even Geo Sports and even children’s networks.