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Pakistani TV regulator bans Indian channels and content

MUMBAI: Pakistani TV regulator has reacted to India’s aggressive postures against the neighbouring country that included a surgical strike across the Line of Control (LoC).

Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory AuthorityPakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) has banned Indian channels and content from being broadcast in the country effective 1 October. It also warned that non-compliance of the order would be dealt with strictly under the law.

The regulator said it has received information that some unidentified people across the country are harassing cable TV operators to curtail their business activity and are also providing them equipment from a company unknown to PEMRA licensing department.

The move follows calls for removal of Pakistani actors currently working in India by several political groups in the wake of the terrorist attack in Uri that took away the lives of 19 Indian soldiers. The Uri attack has been blamed on terrorist groups operating in Pakistan. The diplomatic relations between the two countries have virtually broken down since the attack.

Teri_Meri_JodiIn fact, Subhash Chandra-promoted ZEEL had gone a step further by removing all Pakistani content from its channel Zindagi. It also called off its joint production with Geo TV for a show called ‘Teri Meri Jodi’. Zindagi was launched on the back of Pakistani shows.

PEMRA said it had been working for months to finalise and implement a comprehensive strategy to effectively counter proliferation of Indian channels through illegal DTH and excessive Indian content on satellite TV channels and FM radio.

These illegal activities, it alleged, were continuing due to General Parvez Musharraf’s policy to allow Indian dramas on TVs and movies in cinemas of Pakistan to please India, which was allowed to continue by the successive government.

PEMRA said that all stakeholders had been taken on board for banning Indian channels and content.

Absar Alam“Around three million Indian DTH decoders are being sold in the country. We not only want this sale stopped but will also ask relevant agencies to trace the money trail to determine the mode of payments made to Indian dealers selling these decoders to Pakistanis,” said PEMRA chairman Absar Alam.

The regulator has asked cable TV operators across the country to report and share identities and phone numbers of people who are compelling them to carry Indian channels and content.