SC will not allow airing of Indian content as it ‘damages our culture’, says Pakistan Chief Justice

Islamabad | Pakistan’s Chief Justice Saqib Nisar on Wednesday said that the Supreme Court will not allow Indian content to be shown on Pakistani TV channels as it “damages our culture”.

Chief Justice Nisar made the remarks while hearing an appeal filed by the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) against a high court’s decision to ban the broadcast of Indian content on TV channels in Pakistan, Dawn reported.

Pemra’s counsel Zafar Iqbal Kalanauri informed the three-member bench, led by the chief justice, that foreign content had been banned on court orders before a high court issued a stay order against it.

Pemra Chairman Saleem Baig told the court that 65 per cent of the content shown on Filmazia channel is foreign and that the number at times goes as high as 80 per cent, the paper said.

At this, the chief justice said, “We will not allow Indian content to be aired on (Pakistani) channels”.

Pemra counsel informed the chief justice that “Filmazia is not a news channel but is an entertainment channel; it does not do any propaganda.”

“It is, however, damaging our culture,” the top judge replied.

Nisar observed that the Pakistan Broadcasters Association’s counsel Faisal Siddiqui was not present in the court.

“We cannot pass judgement without hearing him,” he said.

Subsequently, the hearing was adjourned till the first week of February.

In 2016, Pemra had imposed a complete ban on airing Indian content on local television and FM radio channels.

The decision was largely seen as a tit-for-tat move after similar actions were taken by some channels and the entertainment industry in India against Pakistani content and artists.

In 2017, the Lahore High Court had lifted the Pemra-imposed ban, declaring it null and void as the federal government had no objections regarding the same.

In October 2018, the apex court reinstated the ban on the transmission of Indian content on local television channels, setting aside the Lahore High Court orders.

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