A Pakistani court on Friday served notices to the federal government and the electronic media regulator for banning Indian content on television and sought reply from them by February 9.
The Lahore High Court issued the notices to Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) and Federal Information Ministry on a petition by Leo Communication.
Pemra in its October 2016 order had banned Indian content on Pakistani private televisions being operated through cable network in the country. The petitioner said the order is in violation of Pemra rules and the Constitution.
Advocate Taffazul Rizvi, counsel for petitioner, said his client in 2010 had been granted a 15-year licence by Pemra to operate a cable channel - Filmazia - and under the licence it was allowed to broadcast 10 per cent of foreign content including Indian.
“The channel because of running foreign (Indian) content became very popular and received highest viewership ratings across the country,” he said.
Pemra, he said, without citing any legal reason on October 19, 2016 issued a circular abruptly banning all Indian content on cable channels in Pakistan.
“The government is indulging in selective patriotism as Indian movies are allowed to be exhibited in cinemas all over the country showing its double standards,” he argued.
After hearing the arguments, LHC Chief Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah observed that when Indian movies are being screened in cinemas in the country what justification the government/Pemra has to ban Indian content on TV. The court adjourned the hearing till February 9.