ISLAMABAD, Nov 22 (APP): Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) Chairman Absar Alam Tuesday said the direct-to-home (DTH) service would prove to be a game changer in the cable and media industry of the country.

Talking to media persons after a meeting with Chang Jin, Director Asia Pacific Institute of Broadcasting Development (APIBD), here he said the DTH like China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was a game changer.

The PEMRA Chairman said those who were vehemently opposing start of the local DTH, should express patriotism and stop showing illegal Indian DTH.

“Why don’t they go to court against illegal Indian DTH, their attitude is both unprofessional and against the national interests,” he added.

He dispelled the impression being given by the cable operators that the DTH would damage the cable industry. “In developed countries like the United States and Germany where DTH systems had been launched over 20 years ago, penetration of the DTH is only 30 per cent and 70 per cent viewers still depend on the cable system.”

Both the DTH and digital cable could and would coexist, he said adding there was a natural segmentation of the target households for both.

He said in 2017, PEMRA would focus on digitalization of analogue cable. As per law analogue system was to be abandoned in 2015 but it could not be done.

Absar Alam said in DTH, Pakistan lagged behind all the SAARC countries, including Afghanistan.

He said APIBC and PEMRA would soon start training programmes
for the media industry. He held a constructive meeting with Chang and
both the organizations would cooperate for the development of broadcast media in Pakistan, he added.

Chang said he had held constructive meetings with the officials of Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and today he met the PEMRA Chairman. Workshops for trainers in digital media would start early next year.

Replying to a question about the Lahore High Court decision on a petition against the DTH, Absar Alam said PEMRA had not yet received the copy of the short order. A Supreme Court order, he added, was already in place in which Justice Saqib Nisar had given directives that the process for the DTH would not stop. Under the light of the apex court orders, bidding for the auction of three DTH licenses would go ahead as per schedule tomorrow (Wednesday), he added.

Dispelling the impression that the DTH bidding was being held to favour some parties, he said the entire process was open and transparent and under the scrutiny of the superior courts and the parliamentary committees.

He said PEMRA kept its promise made during the cable operators meeting with Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, and they had no justification to go on strike.