PEMRA bans 11 'illegal' Christian TV channels across country

Published: November 21, 2016

LAHORE: The Pakistan Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) has blocked at least 11 Christian TV channels being run across the country ‘illegally’.

The move came after a raid conducted by PEMRA officials against cable operators who were violating the given rules, The Express Tribune has learnt.

The channels which have been blocked are Isaac TV, Gawahi TV, God Bless TV, Barkat TV, Praise TV, Zindagi TV, Shine TV, Jesus TV (Jessi TV), Healing TV, Khushkhabari TV, and Catholic TV, sources said. All the channels relayed religious programmes for Christians living in the country.

“These TV channels are banned in line with ongoing Pemra campaign to ban illegal channels,” Sheikh Tahir, the regulator’s general manager media, told The Express Tribune. He said the blocked TV channels did not have licences to continue their transmissions.

PEMRA seeks ministry’s help in enforcing Indian DTH ban

In response to a question that why only Christian TV channels were banned, Tahir said there was no segregation in the name of religion. “There are many other Indian channels which are banned and there is no special campaign against minorities,” he added.

Meanwhile, a notification issued by DG PEMRA Muhammad Farooq directed all regional managers to take necessary measures to stop “transmission/relaying of the above mentioned 11 illegal TV channels from cable TV networks” in the respective regions immediately.

‘A blow to Christian minority’

Talking to The Express Tribune, Nadim Anthony, a Christian advocate and rights activist, termed it a blow to the Christian minority of the country. Anthony said the blocked channels had a huge viewership, through which community members took religious guidance.

The Christian channels were blocked like the Indian DTH TV channels as if non-Muslims were also anti-Pakistan, he lamented. “There are so many Islamic TV channels functioning in the country but no one can dare ban them, which is discrimination.”

Father Morris Jalal, founder and executive director of Catholic TV, said it was a difficult time for Christians in the country. “What is the future of church media in Pakistan?” he asked. “We are just trying to reach our own community who are generally ignored by other TV channels,” he said.

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Reader Comments (11)

  • vinsin
    Nov 21, 2016 - 6:22PM

    Those who have issues can always move to India.Recommend

  • Jake Hammer
    Nov 21, 2016 - 6:24PM

    Rule is rule.Recommend

  • Amir
    Nov 21, 2016 - 6:59PM

    Discrimination indeedRecommend

  • supersequel
    Nov 21, 2016 - 7:37PM

    Islamic channels arent allowed in usa–only through paid subcription. While post 10PM or scroling through 200-plus channels, you will see many christian channels. I belive that is same in Europe. As much as I believe in religoous tolerance, but law is law and let them pay.Recommend

  • Shuaib
    Nov 21, 2016 - 7:49PM

    @Jake Hammer: then Islamic channels must be banned too. I am all for enforcing the rules.Recommend

  • Giri
    Nov 21, 2016 - 8:08PM

    Double standards. One rule for Muslims and another for Non Muslims. How will Muslims react if Non Muslim countries discriminate against ever proliferating Islamic TV channels? They will raise hue and cry about human rights violations etc. International community needs to pay better attention to what is happening in Pakistan against religious minorities.Recommend

  • Baba
    Nov 21, 2016 - 11:13PM

    These hypocritical Hindus in India just banned Dr Zakir Naik’s peace TV and now they are accusing Pakistan of discrimination. Minorities are murdered in India for eating Beef. The USA itself Banned Aljazeera long time agoRecommend

    Nov 22, 2016 - 12:12AM

    These channels will be back on air to appease Trump in 2017.Recommend

  • Lillian
    Nov 22, 2016 - 7:12AM

    These channels are banned coz they were illegal… Working without a license. From where does discrimination pops up here, in this issue?
    This is all about enforcing law. Non Muslim communities should not take it as a discriminatory step. Get the license and carry on whatever business u were engaged in … Simple as that.Recommend

  • Sf
    Nov 22, 2016 - 7:15AM

    The minorities can get there channels authorized in a legal manner.We always jump to the discrimination gun too soon.Recommend

  • Khalil
    Nov 24, 2016 - 9:31AM

    And where is discrimination in this?

    Just get a legal licence.Recommend

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