Pemra seeks public cooperation to ban Indian channels
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) has sought public cooperation in ensuring blackout of Indian television channels, conceding some of them had resurfaced.
In the light of Supreme Court decision, Pemra had recently stopped cable operators airing Indian channels without having landing rights. The channels are Star Plus, Star News, Star Movies, Star One, Sahara One, Sony TV, B4U Music, Zee Music, Zee News, Zee Cinema, IBN News and other news channels.
There are as many as 2500 cable operators working throughout Pakistan. To monitor what all of them are airing is at the moment not possible for us. That is why we request the public to come forward and approach us if they see any cableoperator going against the apex court orders, said Pemra Chairman Mushtaq Malik, when The News contacted him on the matter.
He explained that they had 150 staff members to ensure implementation of Pemra rules and added the public would have to approach them in case there was any violation of the SC orders.
“We will dispatch raiding teams to ensure the ban and legal proceedings could be started for this violation,” he maintained. Malik said that after Eidul Fitr, Pemra would be boosting its monitoring ability from 15 to 50 channels.
The standing committee of the Senate had been consistently demanding a ban on Indian content being aired by the cable operators and it had also through resolutions urged the local television channels to also stop showing Indian plays and other items.
During the PML-Q government, one of its legislators had raised the same issue on the floor of the National Assembly and asked for a serious pondering over it. She had narrated how she had her spouse were stunned when their young school-going daughter had asked why the groom and the bride had not performed the (Hindu) rituals, which they had been often watching in Indian plays.
Replying to a question, Pemra chief made it clear the authority would stick to its policy of allowing screening of Indian channels in Pakistan only after they had procured landing rights. “Even if they apply for rights, they first will have to present their content to us and if it is not found according to the code, a go-ahead can’t be given,” he maintained.
About religious channels, he said that Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani had called for restoration of religious channels. He pointed out that they had also urged the government to come up with a policy in this connection, which should be strictly followed in this connection.
However, it was learnt that several cable operators had started showing Indian popular plays and stage shows through various ways, for instance, showing an Indian content a day later after getting it recorded on a CD.
Similarly, some channels were back but they no more had an explicit identification. When brought to the notice of Mushtaq Malik, he welcomed it and said Pemra would feel encouraged by such information-sharing to swiftly move against the ban violators.
Source: The News