112 illegal Cable TV Networks found operational: Marriyum

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb on Friday informed the Senate that around 112 illegal Cable TV Networks were found operational without licences during the recent enforcement drive against Illegal Indian Direct-to-Home (DTH) started from October 16 last year.

Replying to a question in the Upper House of the Parliament, the minister said the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) has taken action against these 112 illegal Cable TV Networks and closed their operations on the basis of illegal contents. She added there was a monitoring mechanism which was being implemented by PEMRA.

Marriyum Aurangzeb said that there was also mechanism to monitor the quality of Cable operators. She said there was mention in the licence of Cable operators for maintaining the quality of channels while any individual can also lodge complaint in case of low quality of channels and the authority may take action on any such complaint.

Furthermore, Marriyum told the House that PEMRA issues licences to Cable TV operators while following the set rules and procedures. She said that there was a set procedure for issuance of licence to Cable TV operators and Section 19 of PEMRA Ordinance empowers the authority to issue licences for the establishment and operation of all broadcast media and distribution services.

The information minister said that PEMRA has so far issued 3994 Cable TV licenses in four provinces. She added the authority has served show cause notices to 174 Cable TV Networks during the past six months across the country on committing different kinds of violations.

Marriyum said that the show cause notices were issued on account of non-payment of dues, non-submission of deficient documents, relaying excessive in-house CD channels and proscribed channels etc.

Consequently most of the operators deposited pending dues, change of management cases regularized, fine imposed and warnings issued, she added.

The minister said that around 135 of the show cause notices have been served since October 16, 2016 when PEMRA launched a drive against illegal Indian DTH. She said that Cable operators have been given reasonable time to reply show cause while personal hearings have also been scheduled to conclude the legal proceedings.

Moreover, she said that there were 16 separate organizations in the Information and Broadcasting Division and each organization has its own separate sanctioned and working strength.

The information minister also said that the ministry has started working on restructuring of its five departments included Information Service Academy (ISA), Pakistan Television Corporation (PTVC), Institute of Regional Studies (IRS), Cyber Wing and Press Information Department (PID).

The minister further said that the ministry has enhanced the activities of Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA) and to successfully running these activities, contract jobs were given.

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