Pemra chief lauds drive against smuggled Indian DTH devices

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STAFF REPORT

ISLAMABAD

Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) Chairperson Muhammad Saleem Baig Tuesday visited Sukkur regional office and lauded the efforts of field staff against broadcast of smuggled Indian direct to home (DTH) devices and directed to continue the crackdown and enforcement drive.

The In-charge Regional Office Nisar Ahmed Panwar gave briefing about the operational activities, licensing, enforcement and recovery status and drive against illegal Indian channels in the region.

Pemra chairperson was briefed on the ongoing crackdown being carried out by the organisations field staff for the last two weeks in close coordination with other law enforcement agencies including Federal Investigation Agency, Customs Intelligence, Police and Rangers, against the illegal Indian channels in the country.

During this crackdown a large number of illegal equipment has been seized including 113 C-Line Receivers, 23 Low-Noise Block down converter (LNBs), 23 Dish Antennas, 98 seal bags of Antennas and 1 CPU etc.

He applauded the efforts of Pemra field staff and directed to continue the crackdown and enforcement drive more effectively against sale/purchase of illegal Indian DTH, C-Line and Jadoo Box and associated activities so that no room could be left for those indulged in this illegal business.

He further stressed upon strict compliance of orders of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, as illegal proliferation of Indian DTH is not only damaging the social, cultural and religious values of our society but also causing huge financial loss to the country’s exchequer.

During visit, the Chairman also held meeting with the representatives of the cable operators of Sukkur and asked them to strictly comply with the orders of Supreme Court of Pakistan with regard to Indian content and to operate within the legal ambit, as any illegal activity will be responded by strict action by Pemra.

He emphasised that the cable operators should play their role in creating awareness among the masses especially by relying the public service messages on pressing issues, such as Supreme Court Dam Fund, Clean Green Pakistan and Traffic laws which play a pivotal role in making of a socially responsible society. Moreover, he assured to, address all the fair demands of cable TV operators and take measure to make the industry flourish.

Last month the SC reinstated a ban on the transmission of Indian content on local television channels, setting aside an earlier verdict by the Lahore High Court (LHC).

Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar on a plea filed by the United Producers Association pertaining to the broadcast of foreign content on Pakistani television channels in the SC Karachi registry said, “They are trying to [obstruct the construction] of our dam and we cannot even ban their channels?” . The top judge fumed as he ordered the broadcast of Indian shows to be “shut down” before adding that the authorities should “only air appropriate content”.

Following the ban Pemra launched operations against Indian DTH devices on November 7. Pemra informed that apex court that it had launch locally manufactured DTH boxes.

The additional attorney general requested the court for a tax exemption on DTH boxes launched by the media regulatory authority. In response, Justice Ijazul Ahsan said that tax exemptions come under the mandate of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and added that local DTH boxes should be introduced at affordable prices.

The court also instructed that recommendations of the committee, comprising the FIA, Customs and Pemra, regarding the smuggling of Indian boxes should be sent to the relevant authorities.

The committee also recommended a tax exemption on locally made DTH boxes, the court stated.