Saarc May Take Up Pak Ban On Indian Channels

New Delhi, Nov 9: | Updated: Nov 10 2003, 05:30am hrs
The ban on Indian television channels in Pakistan is likely to come up during the Saarc information ministers meeting beginning on Monday. Even as bilateral issues are not part of the agenda, open media regime would be the focus of deliberations at the meet, it is understood.

With technology advancing and platforms for content delivery multiplying so rapidly, the meeting is expected to bring out the meaninglessness of measures such as banning of channels and films from other countries.

However, on the eve of the third Saarc meeting, information and broadcasting minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told the media that focus would be on multilateral issues. When asked whether the issue of ban on Indian channels would be taken up, the minister said that talks would revolve around free movement of media, and cooperation between the Saarc countries.

Interestingly, even if the information ministers meet is said to be all about multilateral deliberations, in the past also, it had been turned into a bilateral forum. At the second Saarc information ministers conference in Islamabad last year, Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf raised thorny issues linked to Indo-Pak relations.

He offered to de-escalate tension with India and asked for an immediate response from Sushma Swaraj, who was the I&B minister then.