PEMRA drafts proposal to regulate digital broadcasts in Pakistan

PEMRA also recommended acquiring a license for Web TV and OTT TV


Tech Desk February 01, 2020
PHOTO: AFP

Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) has issued a draft proposal titled “Consultation on Regulating Web TV and Over the Top TV (OTT) Content Services” to regulate online content.

The draft which was issued earlier this week sought comments by January 31, later extending the deadline to February 14.

PEMRA noted that Web TV and Over the Top TV (OTT) has seen tremendous growth in the past few years.

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Moreover, both the services are getting popular day by day due to advancement in technology and the preferred use of small screen such as mobile device or laptop and tablets yet these services are not subject to any regulation; no licenses are required, the service providers do not pay any regulatory fee & taxes as against the regulatory fee and taxes which licensed TV broadcasters and other operators are subjected to.

PEMRA posits that it is necessary to regulate web TV & OTT as they disrupt traditional broadcast services and other regulatory concerns.

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PEMRA licensed broadcasters are subject to compliance with code of conduct-2015 which require the operators to have in-house delaying mechanism and editorial control to filter out content which is not in compliance with the code of conduct.  However, Web TV and OTT players are not subject to any code of conduct & other PEMRA laws.

PEMRA recommends that any digital entity that may potentially compete with traditional broadcast media should obtain a license through a hefty initial fee of between Rs5m-10m.

Moreover, PEMRA suggested it is the responsibility of the regulator to provide a level playing field to all.

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