NA body recommends ban on airing foreign content during prime time

ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Information and Broadcasting on Thursday recommended the government to ban airing all foreign contents in any language during the prime time and take strict action against the violators. The committee meeting, held with BeelumHasnain in the chair, was attended by its members, Secretary Information Rasheed Ahmed, PEMRA Chairman Abdul Jabbar, TV actors including Qavi Khan, Laila Zuberi, Asif Raza Mir, Maria Wasti and Sameena Ahmed.

After a thorough discussion on the new trend of airing foreign dubbed dramas by local channels and its negative effects on local culture and generation, the committee recommended that if the PEMRA rules allow airing of the foreign content then it should only be sub-titled in Urdu or English.

The committee suggested that the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) should strictly monitor the television channels and cable operators and take prompt action over violations.

The committee said that the permitted 10 percent of foreign contents should be in proportionate with the fresh contents not of the 24 hours that is being misused by the channels.

The NA body called for review of the rules, adversely affecting the local drama industry in view of the onslaught of the foreign dramas and sought channel-wise list of rules and regulations along with the actions taken against them.

Moreover, it asked the PEMRA to ensure observance of code of conduct by all the channels and licensees and keep close eye on the foreign contents on channels.

The committee suggested the government to ban all advertisements featuring foreign talent.

Secretary Information and Broadcasting Rashid Ahmed informed the committee that the amendment in the PEMRA law could be made only by the Parliament.

He agreed with the proposals that foreign dramas damaging local culture should be banned.

Replying to a question, the Secretary informed the committee that the PEMRA Chairman would be appointed soon as the Information Minister had already conducted interviews of around seven candidates.

Managing Director Pakistan Television (PTV) Yusuf Baig Mirza apprised the committee that the Pakistan Television’s dramas were still popular in the country and abroad.

Legendary actor Qavi Khan said it was unfortunate that no steps had been taken to protect film and drama industry.

Khan recalled that he had produced two films on national solidarity but these had not yet been aired owing to vested interests.

Asif Raza Mir said steps should be taken to protect the local industry.

He also said that foreign dramas should not be allowed in the country as those were not only harming the culture but also damaging the local industry.

He also suggested that the Indian content on cable and FM channels should be banned and added that the PEMRA laws should also be reviewed keeping in view the interest of local drama industry.

Maria Wasti said, “We are producing dramas keeping in view our social problems that is why our dramas are popular among the masses.”

LailaZuberi said that telecasting of foreign dramas should not be allowed as their actors were not paying any taxes to our nationalexchequer.

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