Pemra, cable operators agree to digitalise network
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority and Pakistan Cable Operators Association have reached an agreement for digitalizing cable network in major cities of the country by September 30 this year.
Addressing a joint press conference along with office-bearers of Cable operators association including its Chairman Khalid Arain and Central President Malik Furqan Ghiyas here, Pemra Chairman Absar Alam said in the first phase cities including Karachi, Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Lahore, Peshawar, Quetta, Hyderabad, Sukkur, Multan and Hassanabdal were being digitalized.
He said in this phase over 60 per cent of the cable network would be digitalized while the rest of the network would be digitalized in the second phase. He said all over the world analogue cable system had been closed since December 31, 2015, and Pakistan as signatory of the convention was bound to convert to digitalization. He said Pemra had taken some steps to resolve problems of the cable operators and help desks had been set up in major cities where dedicated staff would provide assistance to the applicants and cameras had been connected with the head office to eliminate the chances of corruption. He said Pemra Act its regulations and forms had been translated into Urdu and the forms were available online.
Absar said old demand of cable operators had been accepted and Pemra would write to the government for its formal approval as an industry. To a question, he said Pemra rules were being violated by various stakeholders and a policy was being finalized to take across the board actions against all violators without any fear or favour.
He said for implementation of electronic media code of conduct consultations were being held with all stakeholders, as it also involved issue of freedom of expression under Article 19 of the Constitution. He said he as chairman Pemra would like to implement the code with mutual understanding. However, if the media houses violated rules then strict action might be taken as last resort. Absar said Pemra’s plans to launch Direct to Home (DTH) system in the country had not been scrapped but only delayed to make it more transparent.
Office-bearers of the Cable operators association said that tax holiday should be given which would ultimately benefit the consumers. They said digitalization of the system would also allow cable operators to add new channels as presently only 80 channels could be accommodated.