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March 6, 2019

Airing of Indian content: SC sets aside LHC verdict

Top Story

March 6, 2019

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday restrained private television channels from airing Indian content after setting aside a Lahore High Court (LHC) verdict allowing broadcasting of such content.

A three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Gulzar Ahmed, resumed hearing in the appeal filed by Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) challenging the LHC judgment.

Appearing on notice, Mudassir Khalid Abbassi, counsel for Pemra, submitted before the court that the federal government had introduced a policy in 2006 whereby 10 percent foreign content, including 6 percent Indian content, could be aired by private TV channels in Pakistan but it was subject to airing of Pakistani content on Indian channels.

The counsel, however, contended that when Indian government in 2016 banned the transmission of Pakistani content on its channels then the Government of Pakistan also through a circular, restrained the TV channels from broadcasting Indian content.

The court was informed that later on M/s Leo Communications filed a petition in the LHC, challenging a circular issued by Pemra on Oct 19, 2016. The counsel told the court that the LHC granted permission M/s Leo Communications for airing Indian content on its channel.

During the course of hearing, Justice Gulzar Ahmed inquired as to whether viewers still want to watch Indian movies. The court was informed that Indian content has zero viewership on local television channels.

Meanwhile, the court set aside the LHC verdict and reinstated the federal government's October 2016 policy as per which Indian content cannot be aired on local television channels and adjourned the hearing for date-in-office.

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