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Foreign content hijacking Pakistani channels

Pakistani TV channels, breaching the rules of PEMRA, are currently airing 30% to 90% of foreign content during prime hours of 7 pm till 11 pm.

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News Desk |

On Sunday actors, directors and producers from Pakistan’s drama industry protested against the illegitimate running of foreign content on Pakistani TV channels during prime time in Karachi. They demanded the Chief Justice of Pakistan, Saqib Nisar to take notice of this illegal practice.

Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Body (PEMRA) has allowed Pakistani TV channels to air only 6% of the foreign content during 24 hours. The protestors say Pakistani TV channels, breaching the rules, are currently airing 30% to 90% of foreign content during prime hours of 7 pm till 11 pm.

They protested that this has dropped the local production to 30%, causing many in the industry to lose their jobs. Actor Fazyla Lashari said, ‘the Pakistani entertainment channels should only run Pakistani content but they are telecasting foreign content in excess of its limit during prime time – 1900 hours to 2300 hours (Pakistani time) – which should be dedicated to solely air Pakistani dramas.’

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Another actor, Hasan Soomro stated that “according to the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) — the body that regulates news, sports and entertainment channels in the country — a Pakistani channel can air only 6 percent of the foreign content in 24 hours. However the channels are airing 30 to 90 percent foreign content — mostly Indian dramas — and there is no Pakistani drama currently being run during the prime time.”

The actors claim the influx of Turkish and Indian content has seriously blown the local entertainment industry. Other prominent actresses Hina Khwaja Bayat claimed that this trend has severe economic implications for producers and directors with small budgets. Bayat said ‘no one burns the stoves of others by putting out his own’. She called out the Supreme Court saying ‘we urge the Chief Justice of Pakistan to listen to us, we are Pakistanis and we are fighting for Pakistan.

Besides appealing to Chief Justice of Pakistan to take notice, we will soon start meeting with the parliamentarians to build up the pressure.” She added that a similar campaign was held back in 2012 in which senior actors from the industry including Qavi Khan, Bushra Ansari, Fazila Qazi, Abid Ali, Faisal Qureshi, Mustafa Qureshi and other joined the protest. However, it withered off indecisively as many actors later took prestigious positions in TV channels without questioning their conduct.

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Further to this, director Suhail Hashmi said not only actors but technicians and make-up artists, working on the daily wages, have suffered a lot. The movement will only be successful when the big producers in the industry will join the movement.


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