ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar on Wednesday said that the apex court will not allow Indian content to be aired on Pakistani TV channels as it “damages our culture”.
A three-member Supreme Court bench, headed by CJP Nisar, heard an appeal filed by the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) against the high court’s decision to ban airing of Indian content on TV channels in Pakistan.
As the hearing went underway, PEMRA’s counsel Zafar Iqbal Kalanauri apprised the SC bench that “foreign content had been banned on court orders before a high court issued a stay order against it”.
Following this, PEMRA Chairman Saleem Baig said, “65 per cent of the content shown on Filmazia channel is foreign and that the number sometimes goes as high as 80 per cent”.
At this, the top judge said, “We will not allow Indian content to be aired on [Pakistani] channels.”
Furthermore, the PEMRA counsel explained to the court that “Filmazia is not a news channel but is an entertainment channel; it does not do any propaganda”.
“It is, however, damaging our culture,” the top judge countered.
CJP Nisar also observed that the Pakistan Broadcasters Association’s counsel Faisal Siddiqui was not in attendance and said, “We cannot pass judgement without hearing him.”
Subsequently, the hearing was adjourned until the first week of February.
In 2016, PEMRA had imposed a complete ban on airing Indian content on local television and FM radio channels.
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.
In 2017, the LHC had lifted the PEMRA-imposed ban, declaring it null and void as the federal government had no objections regarding the same.
In October 2018, the Supreme Court had reinstated the ban on the transmission of Indian content on local television channels, setting aside the LHC orders.