After launching crackdown on local electronic channels, FM radios, cable operators and those selling Indian DTH, PEMRA now wants only legal channels to be broadcast through PAKSAT platform.
Absar Alam, Chairman PEMRA revealed that he had enlisted the help of SUPARCO for ensuring this:
“We have written a letter to SUPARCO to streamline the process so that only the channels that have approval for landing rights from PEMRA can use their platform,” Absar Alam, Chairman Pemra said.
Addressing a press conference on Tuesday, he stated that the vast majority of the electronic media and its distribution network are following the directives regarding airing of foreign content.
As the deadline set by Pemra passed on Oct 15, a nationwide crackdown was initiated by the Authority for all channels, FM radios, cable operators that were found violating the law regarding Indian DTH.
“There are 120 channels in the country. Only 2-3 channels are suspected to have crossed the limits regarding airing of foreign content,” Mr Absar Alam said.
He said that an inquiry had been ordered against offending channels and final judgement regarding their licenses will be undertaken after its conclusion. Penalties may also include suspension of their broadcast licence.
“After suspension of the licences either they will go to the court or face a hearing with the Authority,” he added.
However, Chairman Pemra said that there were no plans to initiate action against the cable operators at the current stage since enough resources were not available presently.
There are around 4,000 cable operators in the country and 40,000 loop operators who act like distributors of the cable operators, but most of them were not following the law regarding ‘bouquet of channels’.
“We plan to take action against offending cable operators but it is likely that they would start following this policy after witnessing Pemra’s continuous stern stance against airing foreign contents and Indian DTH,” he added.
Regarding action taken against Indian DTH during the past two days, Pemra chairman said that it was a serious issue because billions of rupees were at stake.
“There is a huge chain starting from the buyers abroad and clearing the illegal DTH equipments from the ports to their distribution and retail in local markets,” he said. He added that “local banking channels are being used to collect the monthly subscription fee and in the flight of this capital abroad.”
Chairman Pemra also appealed to the rich and influential to stop subscribing to Indian DTH as it was illegal.
“I appeal to the residents of DHA and Cantonment areas too that they should discard subscription of Indian DTH,” Mr Absar Alam said.
Pemra has also sought the help of State Bank to track and stop the money trail of subscription fees made to Indian dealers based in Dubai.
He also said that seven more companies have applied to be part of Pakistani DTH bidding process and they will be shortlisted as per schedule.
“We will have open and transparent auction of three DTH licences for the country,” he added.