A FEW years ago, Pakistan got its first sports channel — PTV Sports. It was a sigh of relief to many as it was free to air. Initially it was free on Digital Receiver as well as terrestrial network. It started its transmission from satellite Asiasat3S then (now asiasat7). Later when Pakistan launched Paksat IR38, PTV Sports was shifted to the newly launched satellite.
For sports fans this was a little problematic as you had to enter the biss key every time you had to watch a cricket match. The situation got worse when PTV Sports became scrambled and it was shifted to conax or in other words made impossible for the rural populations to watch its transmission.
Now it does not work on any satellite. It can be watched only on cable networks. For those living in cities, it is not even an issue as one can easily pay Rs300 per month and enjoy all the channels on cable.
Almost 60 per cent of Pakistan’s population is rural and most of the rural areas do not have access to cable networks. We compare ourselves with our neighbours in each and every matter, then why not in terms of providing entertainment. In India, every international match is telecast on DD national which is FTA. Similarly Bangladesh has BTV National, Afghanistan has Watan TVHD and LemarTv. Only in Pakistan, there is no FTA channel to show sports for free.
In rural areas, people are using dish TV which is expensive or using digital receiver with satellites of other countries. At least we have the right to watch our national team playing.
Published in Dawn, November 5th, 2018