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Pakistan media regulatory body seals offices of 2 more cable operators for airing Indian content

Pakistan’s electronic media watchdog on Wednesday sealed the offices of two cable networks in the Punjab province of the country for allegedly airing Indian content on TV channels.

Last week, the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) sealed the offices of four cable operators.

In a statement, the PEMRA said its regional office in Multan conducted “surprise inspections” in Muzaffargarh and surrounding areas and sealed two cable operators — M/s Khangarh Cable Network in Khangarh and M/s Zee Cable Network in Muzaffargarh.

These “surprise inspections” were carried out for violating PEMRA directives as well as orders of the Supreme Court of Pakistan regarding relaying Indian channels and content, illegally.

“During the raid, the PEMRA enforcement team impounded all the equipment being used in said illegal activity,” it said and warned all cable TV operators from relaying prohibited or illegal content on television.

“Cable TV networks will only be permitted to air PEMRA licensed TV channels, and any operator found flouting the authority orders would be dealt with sternly in accordance with its laws,” it said.

Last Thursday, PEMRA launched a fresh drive against the cable operators “for airing illegal Indian channels as well as Indian content,” the watchdog said in a statement.

It launched the operation on reports of deliberate violations of the Supreme Court order by the cable operators, it said.

The operators air Indian TV serials and movies to cater to public demand as well.

In 2016, PEMRA imposed a complete ban on airing Indian content on local television and FM radio channels.

However, the Lahore High Court lifted the ban in 2017, declaring it null and void as the Pakistan government had no objections regarding the same.

In 2018, Pakistan’s Supreme Court reinstated a ban on airing Indian content on TV channels in the country, overturning the Lahore High Court’s order.

The decision was largely seen as a tit-for-tat move after similar actions were taken by some channels and the entertainment industry in India against Pakistani content and artists. PTI

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