DTH

PEMRA petition in DTH case admitted in Pak SC

MUMBAI: The apex court of Pakistan on Thursday admitted for hearing an appeal filed by the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority challenging a Lahore High Court order of 28 December 2016, that had set aside PEMRA regulations prohibiting television broadcasters from entering the Direct to Home (DTH) market.

SC's five-judge bench headed by Justice Gulzar Ahmed granted leave to appeal after hearing the arguments of PEMRA counsel Salman Akram Raja, the Dawn reported.

Advocate Raja argued that Pakistan's television broadcast market is dominated by 10 television channels out of a total of 90, in terms of market share and advertising revenue. On 24 November, 2016, PEMRA had auctioned three DTH licences for PKR 14.69 billion with the aim of stopping the proliferation of 'illegal' Indian DTH broadcasts which were causing an annual loss of billions of rupees to the national exchequer. The highest bid was raised by Mag Entertainment for PKR 4.91 billion, respectively followed by M/s. Shahzad Sky for PKR 4.90 billion and M/s. Star Time for Rs 4.89 billion. PEMRA had issued non-exclusive licences for 15 years to the three companies.

PEMRA argued that if the broadcasters were to be allowed to enter the DTH market, one or more of the larger broadcast channels would end up controlling the distribution of the content while monopolising one-third or more.

Earlier, the Lahore High Court has requested PEMRA to start the bidding process for direct-to-home (DTH) licences again, after it declared the auction void.

Pakistani DTH services would have countered the sale of Indian DTH services in Pakistan, which leads to annual transfer of between US$ 200 million to US$ 350 million to India on account of subscription fee.

Also read:

Pak DTH: Mag, Shahzad & Star Time to start ops in a year

Pakistan gets tough on Indian DTH & content

Pak DTH licence bidding stayed

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