Pakistan is cracking down on excessive foreign content, especially the broadcast of Indian programmes, on its television channels. Islamabad's regulatory body said the country's television networks can air Indian content with less than 6% of total air time.
The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) warned that the violators would be slapped with hefty fines and urged them to adhere to rules. Authorities said they were ramping up their measures after complaints from public and channels' proprietors.
"Pemra will take strict action against all those TV Channels which have been continually violating the code of conduct," said Pemra's chairman Absar Alam. "Only license-holder TV channels can telecast foreign content and Pakistani TV channels can air Indian content with less than 6% of total air time, starting October 15, 2016."
Alam went on: "I urge the people to stop using illegal Indian dishes as it is in utter violation of the law and against the national interest," adding that no Indian channels have landing rights in the country. A blanket ban on entire Indian content is also on the cards, the chairman warned.
The Pemra also hinted that there might soon be restrictions on using Indian personalities, especially Bollywood actors, in advertisements aired in Pakistan. Once the parliament brings in a regulation on the matter the regulatory body would enforce them, Pemra's chief said.
"Around three million Indian DTH [direct-to-home] decoders are being sold in the country. We not only want this sale stopped but will also ask the relevant agencies to trace the money trail to determine the mode of payments made to Indian dealers selling these decoders to Pakistanis," said Alam.
All is not well between India and Pakistan in recent months with increasing tensions over the Kashmir unrest. Despite attempts from both countries to ease the situation, there has not been any credible outcome so far.