The electronic media has emerged as one of the fastest-growing and most competitive sectors in Pakistan, according to the Chairman of the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory (PEMRA).
Presenting the watchdog’s report for the year 2010-11 to President Asif Ali Zardari, Dr Abdul Jabbar advised that PEMRA, by the end of the 2010-11 financial year, had issued 85 licences for indigenous satellite TV channels. Out of these 48 licences were issued to entertainment channels, 29 to news and current affairs channels, six to educational TV channels, one to health and one to agro TV channel. In addition, 26 Landing Rights permissions were issued to offshore channels. 2,341 cable TV, six MMDS, one IPTV and three mobile TV licences were issued.
The report suggests that new vistas have opened up for investment and employment in the broadcasting sector, with an estimated cumulative investment of about $2.5 billion. This could reach $4 billion mark by the end of financial year 2011-12. According to the report, “this has paved for opportunities in allied businesses like production houses, advertising agencies, music and performing arts that has never witnessed before”.
PEMRA raided more than 2,000 cable TV operators during the period and around 1,200 systems were seized. Penalties worth Rs10 million (€80,000) were imposed, while nearly 100 foreign channels of various types being run illegally on cable networks were put off air and notably more than 250 illegal FM radio stations preaching violence and extremism were shut down in Punjab, Sindh and mostly in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.