Lahore July 18 (Express Tribune): Noting that “the world has become a global village”, the Lahore High Court (LHC) lifted on Tuesday a ban on the airing of Indian drama serials imposed by the broadcast media watchdog last year.
Chief Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah passed the order after hearing arguments on a petition filed by a local media company praying that the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority’s (PEMRA) prohibition be set aside.
Through its counsel Advocate Asma Jehangir, the petitioner, Leo Communications, owner of the entertainment channel Filmazia, contended that while Indian drama series are banned in the country, Bollywood movies are being widely exhibited.
The petitioner further said tha PEMRA had granted a license to the company for 15 years to operate a cable channel. Under the license conditions, the channel was allowed to broadcast 10 per cent foreign content, including that of India.
The channel became very popular, however, without any prior notice PEMRA issued a circular on October 19, 2016, banned all Indian content on cable channels in Pakistan.
PEMRA’s ban caused serious damage to the company because it had done substantial investment in purchasing Indian content.
PEMRA’s counsel argued that the ban was placed on Indian content because Pakistani movies and dramas were banned in India. To this, the court observed that Indian programming could be censored if it contained immoral or anti-Pakistan content.
The High Court also asked PEMRA’s counsel to present a copy of the notification, if any, about the restriction on the airing of Pakistani content in India.
The court also wondered that if there was content in Indian broadcast shows or movies that was spoiling Pakistani culture and tradition or having a bad impact on the youth, why did PEMRA choose not to mention it in its reply to the court.
Stating that PEMRA should review its policy, the court said that the world has become a global village
“How long could we continue putting bans”, the court asked and allowed the airing of Indian content in the country.
(The featured picture at the top shows a scene from an Indian teledrama)