Broadcasting of ‘indecent and obscene material’ on the cable television networks is not going down well with the civil society members and locals of the area.
Presently, over 10 cable networks are running in the Swat valley, out of these, eight are operating illegally– they have not been issued licenses by Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra).
“I was shocked to watch a man and woman singing and dancing with Allah’s name in the background. I really can’t stand to watch Allah’s name being disgraced,” said a civil society member, Fazal Mahmood Rokhan.
“No one can deny the fact that cable television plays a crucial role in keeping the people informed. However, showing obscene material such as drinking and mixed dancing is not justified in any way,” he added.
Rokhan was of the view that the Pakhtun culture promotes high moral values and the cable operators should broadcast positive aspects of their culture instead of showing indecent material.
Moreover, local residents, most of whom have minor kids, complained against telecasting uncensored material on television. “Every cable network is running four to five DVD channels, in which they air whatever they feel like. “We installed cable TV for educational purposes but these channels are having a negative impact on our children,” said Rahim Yousafzai, a local resident. “I wonder what the government is doing in this regard,” he added.
The area magistrate Peerzada Noor Muhammad Shah, when contacted, said he had issued a warning to the cable operators to stop broadcasting indecent programmes. “We have also planned a collective meeting for all operators after two days for this purpose,” he said.
The cable operators, on the other hand, claimed that they are paying thousands of rupees per month to run their network and they had the authority to show “such material”.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 17th, 2011.