Pakistan’s media watchdog has announced it will crack down on the airing of “excessive foreign content” by TV channels and cable operators, especially those channels that air Indian TV content.
The move from the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority comes ahead of November’s auction of DTH licences to local operators.
It also comes even as the Indian government gave the go- ahead to the state-run All India Radio to broadcast programmes in Baluchi language.
“Adequate time is being given to the cable operators and satellite channels to adjust their timings as per the legal requirements. Otherwise, punitive action will be taken against the two important segments from October 15,” local daily Dawn quoted PEMRA chairman Absar Alam as saying on Wednesday.
He told the newspaper that action against the dealers of Indian DTH would be launched with immediate effect. These channels are being rebroadcast without permission, he added.
He informed that a PEMRA board meeting also decided to completely stop the airing of any Indian channel in the country since none of them had landing rights in Pakistan.
Alam said the PEMRA would write letters to the Federal of Revenue, the State Bank and agencies, including the Federal Investigation Agency, for curbing the sale of Indian DTH decoders in the country.
“Around three million Indian DTH decoders are being sold in the country. We not only want this sale stopped but will also ask the relevant agencies to trace the money trail to determine the mode of payments made to Indian dealers selling these decoders to Pakistanis,” he said.
He said that all the stakeholders, including cable operators and the Pakistan Broadcasters Association, had been forewarned that steps would be initiated in near future against the airing of excessive foreign content. Under PEMRA rules, only 10% of airtime (two hours and 40 minutes in a 24-hour transmission) is allowed for foreign content.
Alam warned of punitive actions, including suspension and revocation of licences, for repeat violations