LHC allows cable operators to air Bollywood movies

Lahore High Court Chief Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah on Thursday issued a decree, allowing licensed cable television operators to air Bollywood movies on television channels.

The court also sought a reply from the federal government on whether Indian dramas could be shown on Pakistani TV channels.

The high court chief justice issued this order on a petition of M/s Leo Communications, assailing a circular issued by Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority on October 19, 2016, for flouting both the authority’s rules and the country’s Constitution.

Counsel for the petitioner, during the hearing, argued that the petitioner-company was granted a 15-year licence by Pemra in 2010 to operate a cable channel by the name of Filmazia.

Under the licensing conditions, he said, the channel was allowed to broadcast 10 per cent 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, abruptly banning all Indian content on cable channels in Pakistan.

He argued that without assigning any reason the sudden proscription sounded a death knell for the channel as it had made a substantial investment in purchasing the Indian content and its ratings took a nosedive due to the ban.

He said that the government was indulging in ‘selective patriotism’, as Indian movies had been allowed to be screened across the country.