The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) has imposed Rs. 10 million in fine on 10 entertainment channels for airing excessive Indian content, more than 10 per cent of the airtime.

PEMRA chairperson Chaudhry Rashid Ahmad said on Monday that under the law, the Federal Government might direct the regulator on policy issues.

The government directed it in 2006 to allow 10 per cent foreign content on satellite TV channels, including six per cent Indian content.

“Since no such reciprocal arrangement is available to Indian satellite TV, we calculate that the excessive foreign content shown by Pakistan TV is in violation of this limit. The maximum fine is Rs. 1 million. Ten channels were fined,” he said.

However, instead of paying the fine, most of the channels chose to get a stay from the higher judiciary, and the case lingered for years, he said.

The PEMRA had served show-cause notices on these channels, including Hum TV, Oxygen TV and Play TV, apart from Kohinoor, NTV, GXM and Jalwa, according to a reply submitted in Parliament by the Minister for Information on behalf of the PEMRA.

The PEMRA has received more than 5,000 complaints in October alone from members of the public against the content in entertainment channels. Its code of conduct prescribes six per cent airtime for Indian content and four per cent for content from other countries. Some viewers complained against vulgarity in Bollywood and ribaldry in the songs shown on TV while others said that more than 80 per cent of the content was from India.

Some viewers complained against vulgarity in Bollywood