The possible impact of banning Indian content on Pakistani Channels



This week on Wednesday Supreme Court of Pakistan raised a question of preserving Pakistani culture which might be in danger because of the content that is shown on our television.

The Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar holds a belief that the kind of content that is shown on our television has an impact on the societal norms and our culture could be in danger. Pakistan Electronic Media (PEMRA), an independent body that keeps check of the content that is run on the electronic media in Pakistan imposed a ban in October 2016 of all the Indian content shown on our televisions after the relations between the two countries were dismantled following a terrorist attack on an Indian military base at Uri in Jammu and Kashmir.

In July 2017 Lahore High Court lifted the ban considering its effect negligible. However, the Supreme Court in October 2018 again took notice and ordered to maintain the ban.

On Wednesday, Zafar Iqbal Kalanauri, Pemra’s counsel, proposed it in front of a three-member apex court bench that there was a ban on foreign content before Lahore High Court took a stay order against it. Saleem Baig, Pemra’s chairman told the court that 65 percent of the content shown on the channel Filmazia is foreign and sometimes goes up to 80 percent.

Here we need to put some thought in this decision of not showing the Indian content on Pakistani TV channels as this point cannot be neglected that most of the channel are running this content because the production cost of the Pakistani dramas and movies do not meet the top requirement. So the channels end up putting foreign content because it cost them less.

If the ban will continue then what measures should be taken to meet the requirements is a big question?

Moreover, another question raises here is that we have been watching not just Indian dramas, movies but also listening to the Indian songs through generations now. So to put the filter of not sharing the culture across the border is not an answer.

Upon the survey, it is observed that people demand entertainment and they seem to enjoy Bollywood movies a lot. “Bollywood movies all the ones that we all have watched growing up and they help us understand the minimum differences between the two countries,” said a viewer.

Last five years have seen the investment of million dollars in the cinema industry and these cinemas are running because we have a high number of viewership in Bollywood movies. Otherwise, Pakistani industry made only 45 movies in last year out of which only 11 movies reached the status of “hit movies”. This number is not enough from the business point of view.

To preserve our culture and ethics we do not need to ban Indian content but also produce the kind of content that represents our culture and art.

“Pakistani dramas are way better than Indian dramas and they are the ones to represent the values that we want to transfer to the next generation.” A woman shared her views

As the culture of Netflix is getting common throughout the world, it has become easier to represent our culture on the international medium as well. Preserving culture from any kind of damage does not only mean I should not be able to expose to a certain kind of content but also to promote it and be proud of it on the international level.

Chief Justice of Pakistan has taken a decision to maintain the ban. However, the court did not announce the judgement because of the absence of Pakistan Broadcasters Association. The top judge said, “We cannot pass judgement without hearing him.”


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