File photo shows actors and media personalities staging a protest against the promotion of foreign content on local television channels.–Photo by White Star

ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Information and Broadcasting on Thursday recommended the government to ban airing all foreign content in any language during prime time and take strict action against violators.

The committee meeting, held with Beelum Hasnain in the chair, was attended by its members, Secretary Information Rasheed Ahmed, PEMRA Chairman Abdul Jabbar, TV actors including Qavi Khan, Laila Zuberi, Asif Raza Mir, Maria Wasti and Sameena Ahmed.

After a thorough discussion on the new trend of airing foreign dubbed dramas by local channels and its negative effects on local culture and younger generation, the committee recommended that if the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) rules allow airing of the foreign content then it should only be sub-titled in Urdu or English.

The committee suggested that PEMRA should strictly monitor the television channels and cable operators and take prompt action over violations.

The committee said that the permitted 10 per cent of foreign content should be in proportion with the local content. The committee said that foreign content was being misused by the television channels.

The NA body called for a review of the rules adversely affecting the local drama industry in view of the onslaught of the foreign dramas. The committee also sought a channel-wise list of rules and regulations along with the actions taken against them.

The committee also suggested the government to ban all advertisements featuring foreign talent.

Moreover, it asked PEMRA to ensure observance of code of conduct by all the channels and licensees and keep a close eye on the foreign content on channels.

Secretary Information and Broadcasting Rashid Ahmed informed the committee that an amendment in the PEMRA law could only be made by Parliament.

He agreed with the proposals that foreign dramas were damaging local culture and should be banned.

Managing Director Pakistan Television (PTV) Yusuf Baig Mirza apprised the committee that PTV’s dramas were still popular both inside the country and abroad.

Actor Qavi Khan said it was unfortunate that no steps had been taken to protect film and drama industry. Khan recalled that he had produced two films on national solidarity but these had not yet been aired owing to ‘vested interests’.

Television personality Asif Raza Mir also urged steps to be taken in order to protect the local industry.

He said that foreign dramas should not be allowed in the country as they were not only harming the culture but also damaging the local industry.

He also suggested that the Indian content on cable and FM radio channels should be banned and added that the PEMRA laws should also be reviewed keeping in view the interest of the local drama industry.

Actor Maria Wasti said: “We are producing dramas keeping in view our social problems which is why our dramas are popular among the masses.”

Actor Laila Zubari said that telecasting of foreign dramas should not be allowed as their actors were not paying any taxes to our national exchequer.

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Comments (8)

January 3, 2013 2:29 pm
Why ban, let the drama industry also vanished just like the film industry. TV channel are already showing parodies as if there are no Pakistani songs at all, what a shame and joke as a nation we have become. No wonder this country is not going to survive.
January 4, 2013 2:14 am
There should not be foreign content on Pakistani channels. If anyone wants to see foreign content, they can see foreign channels.
January 3, 2013 3:40 pm
Why are these people so frightened of competition ? They fear Pakistani viewers will tire of saas-bahu conflicts and go for something different.
Altaf Hussain, Mumbai
January 3, 2013 6:35 pm
Instead of foreign channels please say 'Indian channels'. Unfortunately, the official entertainment channels of Pakistan have hardly any viewership and all this humbug is in vain. People flock to those tv networks that has entertainment value and not to talk shows with mullahs lecturing people on virtues of females covering up.
January 3, 2013 5:31 pm
Agreed. Let there be competition AND let the viewers decide what to watch or what not during prime time or otherwise. Pakistani actors are too scared of competition.
Greater Pakistan
January 3, 2013 5:14 pm
By banning any content would`nt help, Isn`t this shire hypocrisy that Pakistani actors are raising slogans of "cultural invasion" where were they when filthy bollywood trash were airing and distributed across the country? These so-called Pak actors raised watching bollywood movies thats why they have no issues with it, but we Pakistani patriots have! If you cannot ban filth of bollywood then please do not raise hallow slogans of "cultural invasion".
Masood Hussain
January 3, 2013 2:55 pm
We have been shy of competitions and veted interest takes advantage.
Abdullah Hussain
January 3, 2013 2:40 pm
I think this will be a very good move that will have a positive impact in our society.
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