10/12/2016, 14.51
PAKISTAN
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Lahore authorities close 11 "illegal" Christian television channels

by Kamran Chaudhry

The "Pakistan media regulatory authority" has asked television stations to stop broadcasting because they are "unlicensed". Director of Catholic TV: "We do not try to convert anyone, we should not be seen as a threat. Many Islamic television stations operate without permits. " Executive Isaac TV: "It's true, we do not have the license, but a ban on cable broadcasts will not stop us."

Lahore (AsiaNews) - Christian leaders are protesting against the closure of 11 Christian television channels decided by the "Pakistani media regulatory authority" (PEMRA). A recently published communiqué orders all of the broadcasters to "take the necessary measures to stop the listed programs". The televisions are accused of being "illegal" and "not having permission" to broadcast.

The banned channels include Catholic TV, run by the Archdiocese of Lahore. Executive director Father Morris Jalal, claims it is the first time that a formal notification of authorities has targeted TV showing Christian content: "Our goal - he added - is not to convert but to communicate to our own communities . We should not be considered a threat”.

In addition, the priest says, "many Islamic TV channels also operate without the permission of PEMRA. We too are citizens and we demand the same treatment. "

In Pakistan, the channels that broadcast Christian content are all based abroad, because PEMRA does not release licenses for religious broadcasting. The state TV allows the airing of Christian messages only for Christmas and Easter.

Saleem Iqbal, director of Isaac TV – the first Pakistani Christian satellite broadcaster - says he does not want in any way to protest against the authorities' decision: "We look at it like it is, we do not have the license. We can only ask people to continue to watch us online. Many people are passionate about our channel, which is broadcast from Hong Kong. A ban on cable transmission will not stop us".Lahore (AsiaNews) - Christian leaders are protesting against the closure of 11 Christian television channels decided by the "Pakistani media regulatory authority" (PEMRA). A recently published communiqué orders all of the broadcasters to "take the necessary measures to stop the listed programs". The televisions are accused of being "illegal" and "not having permission" to broadcast.

 

The banned channels include Catholic TV, run by the Archdiocese of Lahore. Executive director Father Morris Jalal, claims it is the first time that a formal notification of authorities has targeted TV showing Christian content: "Our goal - he added - is not to convert but to communicate to our own communities . We should not be considered a threat”.

In addition, the priest says, "many Islamic TV channels also operate without the permission of PEMRA. We too are citizens and we demand the same treatment. "

In Pakistan, the channels that broadcast Christian content are all based abroad, because PEMRA does not release licenses for religious broadcasting. The state TV allows the airing of Christian messages only for Christmas and Easter.

Saleem Iqbal, director of Isaac TV – the first Pakistani Christian satellite broadcaster - says he does not want in any way to protest against the authorities' decision: "We look at it like it is, we do not have the license. We can only ask people to continue to watch us online. Many people are passionate about our channel, which is broadcast from Hong Kong. A ban on cable transmission will not stop us". 

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