Cable operators flout ban on Indian channels

Cable operators leave Indian entertainment channels on air despite PEMRA ban.

Ali Usman September 15, 2010
Cable operators flout ban on Indian channels

LAHORE: Whether it’s because of the demands of fans of Indian soap serials or the business minded cable operators, Indian entertainment channels are back on air in Pakistan despite the ban imposed on them by the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority on the orders of the Supreme Court of Pakistan (SC).

Indian TV channels including Star Plus, Colors, Zee Cinema, Star Gold and others are being shown by cable operators on customer demand. In some areas, the logos of these channels have been changed to escape repercussions.

A cable operator in Lahore, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said he had to run his business and couldn’t do it without airing Indian channels. “People were complaining and said that these channels should be shown. They threatened to remove their connections and hire the services of other cable operators who are running Indian channels. “

Local producers and actors were quite happy when the Indian channels went off air, because an increase in the ratings of local entertainment channels was expected as a result of the ban. However, people have had a mixed response about the channels being illegally shown by cable operators.

Farzana Nauman, a house wife, told The Express Tribune that the SC orders should be strictly implemented and that Indian channels should not be shown in Pakistan. “These soap serials are just bad entertainment. Young children are learning improper language because of these shows. Soap operas don’t have any theme except inter-family conspiracies and they cater to the taste of a very limited class. This is a very good decision of SC to ban these channels and cable operators must be penalised for illegally showing them,” she said.

Maham Ahmad, another housewife, has different views. She said that Indian channels shouldn’t be banned and the choice should be left to viewers who can decide what to watch and what not. “This is an age of technology. Those who cannot watch Indian channels through cable can do it through satellite dishes. Are we only trying to deprive poor people from the entertainment they like?” she questioned.

Cable Operators Association Pakistan (CAP) Central President Captain (retired) Jabbar Ahmad Khan told The Express Tribune that cable operators had suffered after the ban on Indian channels. “By and large cable operators are not running these channels. Some cable operators might have been running them with altered logos but we are following the orders,” he said. Khan said that people who could afford to were buying satellite dishes and enjoying the channels of their choice but those who had signed up with cable operators were being deprived. He said that cable operators would soon go on strike against the ban on Indian channels. “Our business will shut down if these channels are banned permanently. Currently an average cable operator is showing 60 channels while before the ban he used to show 80 channels,” he said.

Khan also said that the Chief Justice of Pakistan had asked Pemra to make lists of those cable operators who were defaulters, adding that this is going to be very hard time for cable operators.

A Pemra representative told The Express Tribune that Pemra was taking action against cable operators who were defying the ban; including seizing the equipment and revoking the licenses of those found doing so.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 16th, 2010.


Jeddy | 13 years ago | Reply Indian channels have to boost their signals on a territory which is 4 times the size of Pakistan. As a consequence of that signal strength Indian channels are seen in Pakistan, without the help of cable operators and satellite dish antennas. Cable operators are not to blame How does anyone expect to stop Indian channels? The government of Pakistan does allow Pakistani channels several frequencies and does not allow boosting of signal strength. Our own government conspires against its own people.
Anoop | 13 years ago | Reply @ahmed saleem, True. Pakistani TV shows might not be available here. But, there is no demand for Pakistani TV or Movies. I know many TV shows from Pakistan were popular few decades back but its history now. That has partly to do with only a small percentage of India can understand Urdu/Hindi, mainly the northern states. Cable operators dont illegally air Pakistani TV channels here as there is no demand from the public like its happening in Pakistan. In this age of technology nothing can be banned. India's ban can easily be flouted only if there were demand from the public. Pakistan can ban Indian channels and movies all it wants(like now) but public will find a way to watch them. I am even sure you will have watched some Hindi Movies. They are fun aren't they? India's conservativeness is limited to Pakistan only. "I agree that India has given the status of ‘Most Favourite Nation’ to Pakistan but at the same time it has imposed various barriers along with it especially in the sector of textile, fresh fruits/vegetables where Pakistan is strong. " --> MFN is a 2 way street. If India implements MFN and removes all the trade barriers then trade will be unfair, since Pakistan has not given MFN to India. FYI, illegal trade is far higher than legal trade especially via Dubai. So, cash-strapped Pakistan is losing out on revenue. Let Pakistan give MFN and then judge if India is removing trade barriers or not. India has offered MFN but only if Pakistan reciprocates can it be turned into reality. "To further enlighten you, in the year 2008-09 the Pakistani exports to India were $391.61 million while the imports from India into Pakistan reached a staggering level of $1.20 billion." --> This happens all the time. Instead of importing the same stuff for a costlier price from elsewhere Pakistan is importing it from resource rich India. Also, Indian economy is far far more competitive in exports than Pakistan. It'd be an insult even to compare. Any country can impose trade barriers as a tit-for-tat gesture. "If India really wants to be at good terms with Pakistan then it has to show sincerety and most of all recognize Pakistan as a sovereign state." --> I live in Bangalore and most dont even know the capital of Pakistan or the name of its Army Chief. You have visited North India which obviously had strong ties with Pakistan culturally. Pakistan and non-north-India are completely different countries. Stop saying that Indians dont recognize Pakistan. I ask, does it matter to you if we recognize it or not? How can one not accept reality? I for one support the creation of Pakistan. It was an inevitable act, if had not taken place would have dragged India into Civil war, as Jinnah had famously threatened. Creation of Bangladesh and the series of activities that lead up to it, shows how wrong he was. Whats done is done. No regrets, especially considering Pakistan is acting as a buffer against extremely volatile,unstable and violent Afghanistan. Who would want to live next to the Taliban?
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