Pakistan will launch a crackdown on Indian TV channels from October 15 to “cleanse” the country’s airwaves of “illegal content”, electronic media regulator said today, reversing Musharraf era relaxation on airing of popular Indian dramas and movies.
Pakistan Electronic Media Regularity Authority (PEMRA) said it will “implement a comprehensive strategy to effectively counter proliferation of Indian channels through illegal DTH (Direct To Home) and excessive Indian content on satellite TV channels and FM radios”.
PEMRA yesterday asked all channels to immediately stop broadcast of illegal Indian content. The decision came in the wake of ongoing tension between India and Pakistan following the Uri terror attack and Indian Army’s surgical strikes on terror launch pads across the LoC.
“Retired general Pervez Musharraf had allowed Indian dramas on TVs and movies in cinemas of Pakistan to please India and no government checked it ever. There is October 15 deadline for TV channels, FM radios and cable operators to follow the law,” PEMRA said.
“Any attempt by anyone to torpedo PEMRA writ and this consensus among stakeholders, so close to the deadline, would confirm the fears that certain vested interests do not want Indian channels and content to go off air in Pakistan.
“These people, at this critical time, are working against the national interest and interference in the functioning of a state institution, is not only hampering PEMRA’s efforts to cleanse Pakistani airwaves of illegal Indian content, but also a cognisable offense, under the law of the land,” it added.
According to PEMRA rules, local channels can only show 5 per cent foreign contents but it has been seen that several channels mostly rely on foreign contents, mostly Indian, Turkish, American and European.
Last week, Raj Thackeray-led MNS issued an ultimatum to Pakistani artistes and actors, including Fawad Khan and Ali Zafar, to leave India by September 25 or else they would be “pushed out”.
Recently, concerts of Pakistani singers Shafqat Amanat Ali and Atif Aslam scheduled in Bengaluru and Gurgaon respectively were also cancelled.