Pak appeals people to boycott Indian channels
Islamabad: Pakistan's electronic media watchdog has sought the people's cooperation to black out Indian television channels on domestic cable networks, conceding that some of them had resurfaced after recently being taken off the airwaves.
Acting on an order of the Supreme Court, the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) recently barred cable operators from relaying Indian channels that do not have landing rights for the country.
Among the channels taken off cable networks were highly popular ones like Star Plus, Star Movies, Star One, Sahara One, SET Max, B4U Music, Zee Music, Zee Cinema, Peace TV and Quran TV.
The move irked viewers across Pakistan, especially the numerous fans of Indian soaps and Bollywood movies.
"There are as many as 2,500 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 cable operator going against the apex court's orders," PEMRA chairman Mushtaq Malik said.
PEMRA has 150 staff members to ensure the implementation of its rules and orders.
The public will have to approach the body in case there is any violation of the court's orders, Malik said. "We will dispatch raiding teams to ensure the ban and legal proceedings could be started for this violation."
Malik said after the upcoming Eid-ul-Fitr festival, PEMRA will boost its monitoring ability from 15 to 50 channels.
The standing committee on media of the Senate or upper house of parliament has consistently demanded a ban on Indian content aired by cable operators. Through resolutions, the panel has urged local television channels to stop showing Indian channels.