Pakistan Court Ordered PEMRA to Allow Broadcasters in DTH Auction

Pakistan court ordered PEMRA to allow TV broadcasters to participate in the DTH auction. The media laws in Pakistan on the direct to home TV (DTH) become more liberal than their counterparts in India, by court decision. The Supreme Court of Lahore has invalidated the recent sale at DTH auction because it prohibited the broadcasters in the auction.

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According to the court decision, broadcasters are allowed to participate in the DTH tender. In India, the broadcasting industry to DTH is clearly limited. Under this Regulation, broadcasters may not own more than 20% of the shares in a DTH company in India. The Supreme Court of Lahore has canceled the rules on eligibility by the regulatory authority for electronic media of Pakistan (PEMRA) for DTH licenses. He ordered PEMRA to restart the entire DTH auction process, new applications, including invites. So broadcaster like Geo and ARY can now participate in DTH auction.

PEMRA, however, can challenge the order in the Supreme Court of Pakistan. To know it would be a conflict of interest, PEMRA did not allow media broadcasters in the Dth distribution services from entering and prohibited broadcasting channels to receive DTH licenses. However, the court noted that the restriction was based on the assumption that any vertical integration between the media and distribution services would result in an improper concentration of property. The sales to DTH auction, which took place November 23, 2016, was delayed several times, as originally planned for December 2015. The Supreme Court of Pakistan has granted the conditional award from the High Court of Lahore, has heard this case.

Three companies including a China had received the DTH license for 15 years against a charge of $48.9 billion.