Pemra proposal to regulate online content services rejected

ISLAMABAD: A total of 19 organisations and 36 prominent individuals have rejected a Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) proposal to regulate internet television and over-the-top (OTT) content services.

The critics described the proposal as an attempt to gag voices that have disappeared from mainstream electronic media and turned to internet television, also known as web TV.

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, Aurat March Karachi, Bolo Bhi, Digital Rights Foundation (DRF), Institute for Research, Advocacy and Development (Irada), Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists and the People’s Commission for Minorities Rights are among the organisations, while prominent individuals include Pakistan Bar Council Vice Chairman Abid Saqi, rights activist Tahira Abdullah and journalists Nasir Zaidi, Adnan Rehmat, Asma Shirazi and Badar Alam.

Aftab Alam, a representative of Irada, told Dawn that Pemra floated the proposal on its website on Jan 8. It said that it wanted to regulate internet television and OTT content services offered by various websites that people can pay to access.