KARACHI: The Supreme Court on Saturday directed the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) to ban transmission of foreign content on all private television channels beyond permissible time.

A three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, was hearing an application jointly filed by a few producers and TV actors a few months ago pertaining to the broadcast of foreign content on Pakistani television channels.

An additional attorney general informed the bench that though Pemra was monitoring channels, it could not ban transmission of foreign content as a high court verdict restraining the ban was in place.

Chief Justice Nisar suspended the high court order and directed Pemra to impose a ban on screening of more than 10 per cent foreign content as permitted under the law.

The CJP observed that while India was trying to block the flow of water into Pakistan, the country could not even block its channels.

It may be recalled that the apex court had asked Pemra in June as well to take strict action against all private TV channels showing more than 10pc foreign content.

The Pemra chairman had, through the additional attorney general, submitted a report showing that the authority had issued licences to 38 entertainment channels to operate in the country — of which 23 were broadcasting foreign content.

Published in Dawn, October 28th, 2018

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