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Illegal religious channels growing on cable networks
By Tariq Butt January 12, 2019
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ISLAMABAD: Unlicenced religious television channels are mushrooming on the cable networks for the last some years.

Officials say at least 21 religious channels are continuing their transmissions on the cable currently without licences. Twelve of them are Christian religious channels and nine are Islamic channels, which are being shown from foreign countries.

They said the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) had issued notices to QTV and Madni TV 10 and six years ago, respectively. But their operators obtained stay orders from the courts and are still continuing with their transmission without getting licences from the Pemra. Even the incumbent government has failed to take any action against the unlicensed religious channels.

Due to lack of clear-cut Pemra policy on the religious channels, in the beginning Islamic religious channels started their transmission on the cable and then the Christian religious channels also mushroomed on the cable. While Muslim and Christian preachers are spreading their message, there is a serious threat of preaching of idolatry or polytheism in Pakistan.

Several viewers have requested Prime Minister Imran Khan to take notice of these unlicenced channels. They said only those religious channels should be allowed which do not create any controversy and where known and competent scholars present their viewpoints.

Pemra officials say they do crack down on the illegal channels, but their owners immediately approach superior courts and get stay orders against their decisions. Thus, they said, the regulator becomes helpless. However, the Pemra still continues to fight the legal battle against such channels.

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