PEMRA battles with bidding of DTH license

WEB DESK: Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) is much active these days and issuing notices to the channels, banning ads and programs with objectionable content. The regulatory authority wants to keep things in check for the upcoming Ramadan.

Recently PEMRA battles with the issuing of DTH license.

DTH is a digital satellite service which provides television viewing services directly to the subscribers through satellite transmissions which can be anywhere in the country. The Purpose of such a license is to promote and provide a wider choice, in terms of channels, to the people of Pakistan.

The bidding was scheduled in December. But it was postponed when Absar Alam was announced the chairman of PEMRA.

The reason for the postponed was that Mr. Alam decided to form a comprehensive policy on the matter. The policy hasn’t been announced yet, but according to earlier reports, the authority plans to issue DTS license to three companies in Pakistan.

PEMRA basically wants to determine the extent of foreign shareholders in the capital intensive project. Currently, the foreign shareholding limit in electronic media is restricted to below 50% of the total shareholding as per Section 25 of PEMRA Ordinance 2002 (Amendment Act 2007), according to ProPakistani.

A local newspaper reported that PEMRA is issuing DTH licenses to companies that air 95% Indian (foreign) content on their channels.

PEMRA has always spoken of “national interest” and discouraged portrayal of Hindi culture on screen (case in point is banning of Hindi cartoon shows), so the move was a bit baffling.

In this regard PEMRA issued a press release release,

“This smear campaign manager, who seems to have little knowledge of the technology and the law of Pakistan, are alleging that digitalization of Cable TV networks and DTH licensing is being done to allow Indian channels in Pakistan.”

The press release further stated, “These vested interests and their cronies have themselves been supporting, sponsoring and selling Indian DTH services in Pakistan for decades and are a tool of channeling Pakistani money to India,” added the press release.