ISLAMABAD, Dec 17: The Senate Standing Committee on Information and Broadcasting expressed concern on Monday over a growing trend among private channels to telecast Turkish soaps, expressing fears that the local mini-screen entertainment industry would go the way of its big-screen sister.

A meeting of the committee, held at the Parliament House, noted that contents of these programmes were contrary to Pakistani culture and norms.

When members of the committee criticised the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) for its failure to control the “free for all”, its chairman Abdul Jabbar said stay orders by different courts had tied their hands down.

“We are literally insulted in courts, especially in the apex court, for taking action against programmes or entertainment channels,” he said, adding: “Whenever we issue notices to these channels for airing of any immoral content, they file a contempt application against us.”

The meeting, presided over by Senator Kamil Ali Agha, was held to discuss issues relating to monitoring of foreign contents on private television channels. Dr Saeeda Iqbal, a member of the committee, raised the issue of Turkish and Spanish soaps being aired by a local channel.

“When you have stopped Indian entertainment programmes from being aired in Pakistan, why the regulator is not acting against programmes from other countries,” Senator Saeeda wondered. “Have you seen the theme and odd dressed in these programmes.”

The Pemra chairman said the regulator had taken note of the Turkish and Spanish programmes and issued notices to the channel concerned, but after a final shutdown notice was issued, the channel obtained a stay order from a court in Sindh.

“We have had stay orders against show-cause notices and warnings from Lahore and even Islamabad. How can anybody expect us to regulate the programmes in this condition,” Mr Jabbar said. “It is not limited to these programmes only; almost all local news and entertainment channels have obtained stay orders against Pemra rulings.”

Information Secretary Chaudhry Rasheed informed the meeting that the local advertising industry had suffered badly because of an open policy of sponsors and a bulk of advertisements featuring foreign models were being made abroad. “Now a similar situation can be expected for the entertainment industry,” he added.

The meeting was informed that under the law, channels were allowed 10 per cent foreign contents, which included six per cent Indian and four per cent other countries.

“But the main problem is that a number of TV channels are airing foreign programmes during prime time,” PTV Managing Director Yousuf Beg Mirza said, adding: “At the same time there is a very strict policy for PTV for airing foreign content and as a result revenues are shifting to private channels.”

Updated Dec 18, 2012 02:47am

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Faisal
Dec 18, 2012 11:11am
I guess the Senate has solved all the other problems of Pakistan --- now that it is hell bent on banning entertainment from Turkey! We are really a nation of hypocrites --- we can watch serials and movies (not only on TV but cinema houses, DVDs, You Tube, etc) from all over the world including India but have suddenly realised that entertainment from Turkey will put our Islam in danger!! When will we grow up as a nation? With a wide choice of channels available (including a plethora of religious channels), why can't people be left to decide for themselves as to what they would like to watch within the confines of their homes?
Mr.T
Dec 18, 2012 10:54am
Courts are not regulate TV channels, of-course Pemra is but when pemra is not doing their job then court interfere, you foo....
Aj...
Dec 19, 2012 07:44am
I second that. You guys should stop going to Atrium first Indian and Hollywood movies.
haris
Dec 18, 2012 11:14am
Its not about India vs Pakistan or Muslim vs Non-Muslim. The main point addressing here is to protect the local entertainment industry which is also sloping downwards. Every country has taken such measures on various circumstances. More recently, Indians were outraged and thousands of them launched massive protest across India when their Government approved the bill of allowing foreign grocery chains to open their stores in the country. Why there was such an outcry? because they too wanted to protect their local grocery sellers.
mansoor
Dec 18, 2012 11:29am
Indian shows are more vulgar. Their flimsily dressed dancers do sexually explicit moves and these shows are aired around 6or 7 in evening when children are watching. The reason turkish dramas are being opposed has a lot do with the politics os media channels. If you would know, Urdu1 is a channel recently launched. The fact that they conquered local audiences with Turkish content has irked the local level media moguls, Geo and Express. These newspapers are publishing reports against Turkic dramas played on Urdu1 and are themself showing similar dramas on their channels.
sara
Dec 19, 2012 05:21am
why do we keep mentioning Muslim country again and again? the show by no means depicts Islamic values but that is besides the point we are not looking for Islamic values here that is a matter of personal preference. main point is to protect our own entertainment industry
Hamza
Dec 19, 2012 06:00am
Simply one thing. Our we afraid of worldwide competition. Point of no -return. We simply can't compete because we can't create any thing?. We should take this as Challenge and learn and compete with the situation. Already channels made millions now face challenge and come up with something new. Dresses does not matter. Quality of drama does matter. "humsafar is example". Donot close your eyes like Japs in 18th Century. Come and face the reality of the world. Learn from others and create you own , compete with faith and full determoination. That should be the only virtue.
MIKE
Dec 19, 2012 05:50am
SENATORS are the ones watching the shows all the time.
Foster
Dec 19, 2012 12:00pm
They are pretty bad...
yusuf khan
Dec 18, 2012 09:16am
First the ire was against Indians but now a Muslim country Turky's programmes are eyesore to gairat brigade. In fact Pakistanis are closer to Indian culture which they will never admit. Indian programmes seem to be as their own but the programmes of an Islamic country are alien to Pakistani culture.
Ashfaque
Dec 19, 2012 07:41am
Senate should focus on controlling other issues like terrorism,Taliban and corruption of course which is menace in this country rather than wasting time on these little issues of soap serials which is the main cause of little change and entertainment for people who wanted to see change.
Musharaf Khan
Dec 18, 2012 11:35am
In fact when your hen lay egg in the neighbor's house you can't say any thing to system...We are personally wanted lust and entertainment on the other hand we also wanted our generation not to adopt the alien styles and roles...How ignorant we are cutting the same branch on which we had build our nest
Fawad malik
Dec 19, 2012 10:46am
not just bollywood they are better than hollywood also....all bollywood khans and all their heroines look like 'naukraniyan' infront of behlul ,bhiter and nihal
Adnan
Dec 18, 2012 07:50am
Pemra is a regulatory authority for TV. its orders and notices cannot be challenged in the court. and courts should not give stay orders against a prime regulatory authority's orders. Courts are not to regulate Media but Pemra is.
A. Khan
Dec 18, 2012 09:19pm
Filth is in the mind of the viewer !
Aj...
Dec 19, 2012 07:16am
brother Haris let's not compare India with Pakistan. They manufacture ambassador and drive it with on the streets with pride so please if they protest against foreign grocery chains I see no wrong because they are not hypocrites like we are. If you are seriously concerned about foreign products, let's start with your clothes, cars and even the italian tiles in your washroom.
Dejavu
Dec 18, 2012 11:23am
Its an another wish behind Turkish soaps that If turkey is developed nation and good for west and being muslim too so why not we paksitani become more westernize to reach the same goal and become more acceptable for west and get rid of our very old tribal clutures that is now equal to islam.
haris
Dec 18, 2012 11:26am
I am not sure what our Constitution says Supreme Court has the authority to challenge Regulatory Agencies but in many countries across the globe including US and Britain, it is very common and the highest courts could withheld the regulations impose any liability. In July this year, US Supreme Court withheld some regulations set by a Regulatory Agency related to Labor laws after a petition filed against them.
Cyrus Howell
Dec 18, 2012 04:16pm
Ironic.
Mani
Dec 18, 2012 03:38pm
Seriously? We are living in the internet era and TV can never win by shutting down competition. You will only push yourself backwards. You need to stand up to the challenge, by providing govt. support; financially, via education and creating a self-sustaining solid infrastructure.
G.A.
Dec 18, 2012 01:11pm
Bollywood movies are watched the world over by people who don't understand Hindi and now Turkish soaps are becoming popular too. Instead of complaining about foreign programs why can't Pakistan produce soaps and movies that are watched the world over? We have such a defeatist mentality.
Usman
Dec 18, 2012 03:21pm
I have always been opposed to the airing of Indian soaps in Pakistan - not because they are from India, but simply because most of them just awful! I mean, 'Kyunkay Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi', (Because the Mother-in-Law Was Once a Daughter-in-Law), for heaven's sake!
spoton
Dec 18, 2012 02:14pm
turks are better than bollywood - I wish pakistanis adopt turkish way of life than copying the indian norms.