Pakistan govt to liberalise broadcasting policy

MUMBAI: In a bid to liberalise its broadcasting policy, the Pakistani government is not only allowing the formation of private radio and television stations, but may also grant permission to seven new TV stations .

Even though entrepreneurs hoping to run private TV channels have been promised licences in the coming months, it is not clear whether private companies intending to set up independent news channels will enjoy similar privileges, states a BBC report.

"The government's media managers are seriously worried about the popularity of a couple of Pakistani satellite TV channels that are broadcasting news from Dubai and the UK, and are reluctant to given them uplinking facilities from within the country. But pressure is growing, and media experts say the competition coming from across the border in India may eventually compel the government to make the domestic electronic media completely free," a correspondent is quoted as having said in the report.

In Pakistan where under one-fifth of homes have satellite TV access, the TV market is primarily dominated by state broadcaster Pakistan Television Corporation and comprises PTV1, PTV2 and a cable channel PTV World. Also, in addition to illegal cable companies there is a part state and part privately owned Shalimar Television Network (STN) available in select 12 cities with about 40 per cent national coverage and a pay cable service called Shaheen Pay TV (SPTV) owned by the Shaheen Foundation, the commercial arm of the Pakistan Air Force with around 10,000 subscribers.

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