LAHORE – The Lahore High Court on Tuesday allowed exhibition of Indian dramas and TV shows in the country on petitions challenging a ban imposed by Pemra.
Chief Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah passed the order after hearing both sides.
During the hearing, Advocate Asma Jahangir, the counsel of petitioner M/s Leo Communication, appeared before the court and contended that exhibition of Indian movies was not banned but Indian dramas were banned.
The counsel for Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) argued that the ban was imposed on Indian content because Pakistan’s movies and dramas were banned in India. At this, the court observed that the stuff could be censored if it carried immoral content or material against Pakistan.
The court asked the Pemra’s counsel to present copy of the notification, if any, about airing of Pakistani stuff in India. The court also raised question that if there was such material in Indian movies and dramas which was spoiling Pakistani culture and tradition or leaving bad impact on youth then why the Pemra did not mention it in its reply. The court observed that Pemra should review its policy; the world has become a global village; for how long we could continue putting ban. The court disposed of the petition and allowed exhibition of Indian movies, dramas, audio and video material in the country.
The federal government had no objections over lifting of ban on Indian content airing.
Although Pemra’s ban on the airing of Indian films was lifted in February this year, permission to air teleplays or television dramas was not granted.
The LHC judge also asked why Pemra was making the airing of Indian content an issue when the federal government had no objections regarding the same.
Justice Shah remarked that the court should be informed if the Indian government had issued a notification to ban Pakistani content and maintained that Pemra must review its policies.
M/s Leo Communication had moved the petition through Advocate Asma Jahangir arguing that Pemra granted licence to the company for 15 years to operate a cable channel by the name of Filmazia. He said under the licence conditions, the channel was allowed to broadcast 10 percent foreign content, including that of India. He said the channel became very popular, however, Pemra without any prior notice issued a circular on October 19, 2016 and banned all Indian content on cable channels in Pakistan.
The petitioner-company submitted that Pemra issued notice suddenly and did not assign any reason despite that it had got proper licence from it. The Pemra’s ban caused serious damage to the company because it had done substantial investment in purchasing Indian content. He prayed the court to set aside the ban imposed by Pemra on Indian content they had purchased for screening on their cable channel