India has issued some 800 satellite TV licences over the past few years. However, neighbour Pakistan’s Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) has only issued 91 licences since 2002.
Pakistan’s Minister for Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage Pervaiz Rashid told the National Assembly on Feb 27 that 37 licenses have been issued to Entertainment TV channels, 27 to News and Current Affairs channels, 19 to Regional Languages channels, 4 to specialized subjects channels and 1 each to Sports, Health, Agro and Education TV channels.
Over the past five years the number of licenses issued has slowed even more. Just thirteen licenses have been issued to Entertainment channels, 05 to News and Current Affairs,04 to Regional Languages and one each to Health, Agriculture and Sports channels.
Indian – and other – channels are frequently distributed by Pakistan-based cable operators, and face the risk of fines and other penalties if and when discovered. These non-Pakistan broadcasters have long called for more transparency in the country, especially in terms of sport broadcasts.