Pakistan’s electronic media regulator said on Tuesday it will revoke or suspend the licences of TV channels that violate laws by airing Indian content from October 15.
The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) delegated powers to its chairperson Absar Alam for taking action against channels that violate laws without giving them any notice or holding a hearing, state-run APP news agency reported.
Against the backdrop of heightened tensions between the two countries, PEMRA had earlier set October 15 as the deadline for channels and cable networks to stop airing “excessive Indian content”. It had also said it would crack down on the use of illegal direct-to-home (DTH) platforms to receive Indian channels.
PEMRA said it had acted after the people of Pakistani complained about Indian content on TV channels and demanded a ban on such content because of the tensions between the two countries.
The regulator also suggested on Monday that the amount of Indian content on Pakistani channels should be equal to the Pakistani content allowed on Indian channels. The move would roll back a directive, issued when former military ruler Pervez Musharraf was in power, that allowed TV channels to devote 6% of their daily airtime – or about one hour and 35 minutes – to Indian serials and movies.
But Pakistan’s entertainment and news channels and cable operators often exceed this limit.
India has no official policy regarding the airing of Pakistani content on its channels.
“We have made this consensus decision to link the airing of the Indian content with the policy in that country after looking at their treatment of our artists and productions,” an unnamed member of PEMRA’s board was quoted as saying by Dawn.
Film industry associations and actors in India have demanded a ban on Pakistani artists, musicians and technicians