Islamabad: Amid escalating tension between India and Pakistan over the terror attack in Uri and the Indian armed forces' surgical strikes in the neighbouring country in retaliation, Pakistan's media regulator on Saturday asked all channels in the country to "immediately" stop broadcast of illegal Indian content.
Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) in a statement said it has been receiving complaints that several local private channels were showing Indian talk shows, reality programmes and dramas without permission.
"The complaints have shown serious concerns on this issue (illegal Indian contents) in the wake of current situation between India and Pakistan. Complaints have urged PEMRA to impose immediate ban on broadcast and distribution of illegal Indian channels and illegal Indian DTH," PEMRA said in a statement.
PEMRA said that it had already taken steps to stop illegal broadcast of Indian channels and warned that all distribution networks and TV channels should follow the laws and "immediately" stop the broadcasting of Indian contents.
"This will sent a positive signal to the public about the satellite TV channels and distribution networks' commitment with rule of law and the country about which a huge number of talk shows preach daily," it said.
According to PEMRA rules, local channels can only show 5 per cent foreign contents but it has been seen that several channels mostly rely on foreign contents, mostly Indian, Turkish, American and European.
The film industries of both the countries have also got themselves involved in the matter.
After the Indian Motion Picture Producers Association (IMPPA) said on Thursday they had decided not to work with Pakistani artistes till normalcy returns, theatres in Pakistan have also decided to stop screening Indian films to express ‘solidarity with their armed forces and film actors', reports Dawn.
Popular theatre chains like Lahore’s Super Cinemas, Karachi’s Nueplex Cinemas and Atrium Cinemas have decided to stop the screening of Indian films. While Super Cinemas and Nueplex Cinemas announced their decision on Facebook, Atrium Cinema revealed its decision on its website.
Nadeem Mandviwalla, a well-known film exhibitor, distributor and owner of the Atrium cinemas in Lahore and Karachi, said the boycott would be unanimous until the situation improved. Saleem Khan of the famous Capri cinema in Karachi said they had stopped showing Indian films since last night.
Pakistan's film industry fears it may suffer a 70 percent business loss if Indo-Pak ties worsen and Bollywood films are banned in the country. The fear among the industry has been growing as they feel if the situation does not improve there would be calls to ban Indian films eventually.
Last week, Raj Thackeray-led MNS issued an ultimatum to Pakistani artistes and actors, including Fawad Khan and Ali Zafar, to leave India by September 25 or else they would be "pushed out".
Recently, concerts of Pakistani singers Shafqat Amanat Ali and Atif Aslam scheduled in Bengaluru and Gurgaon respectively were also cancelled.