Pemra bans broadcast of ads featuring Indian characters, talent

Updated August 15, 2019

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Pemra's decision to ban ads with Indian talent comes in the wake of escalating tensions between India and Pakistan over the Kashmir issue. — AFP/File
Pemra's decision to ban ads with Indian talent comes in the wake of escalating tensions between India and Pakistan over the Kashmir issue. — AFP/File

The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) has prohibited the broadcast of advertisements produced in India or featuring Indian actors and characters, it emerged on Thursday.

In a communiqué sent to all of its television and radio licensees, dated August 14, the authority recalled that it withdrew the permission for airing Indian channels and content on the directions of the Supreme Court in October last year.

"However, it has been observed that advertisements of various products of multinationals which are either produced in India or carrying Indian characters/talent [are] being aired on electronic media," said the letter shared on Pemra's official Twitter account.

The letter noted that the government had announced to celebrate this year's Independence Day in solidarity with Kashmiris in the wake of escalation in tensions between the two countries over the Kashmir issue.

However, the airing at the same time of advertisements produced in India and carrying Indian talent on Pakistani media was tantamount to "negating the state policy", the authority said.

It also observed that the appearance of Indian characters on Pakistani TV screens "aggravates miseries of Pakistanis who are perturbed over Indian atrocities on Kashmiri brethren".

In view of the above, Pemra banned the broadcast of all advertisements featuring Indian talent with immediate effect by invoking Section 27(a) of the Pemra Ordinance 2002. The products whose advertisements were particularly targeted by the authority include: Dettol soap, Surf Excel powder, Pantene shampoo, Head & Shoulders shampoo, Lifebuoy shampoo, Fogg body spray, Sunsilk shampoo, Knorr noodles, Sufi, Fair & Lovely face wash, and Safeguard soap.

According to the letter, the ban on the airing of the Indian ads will remain in place till the time the advertisements are replaced by those produced in Pakistan and featuring Pakistani actors and talent.

Pemra warned that legal action will be initiated against the broadcasters in case of non-compliance.