Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) has initiated a crackdown on the Christian TV Channels which has caused grievance among Pakistani Christians. This mass shutdown of all Christian TV stations has tainted the social harmony in the country.
On September 23, PEMRA had issued notices to ban the airing of 11 Christian TV channels – this notice was ignored yet a mass crackdown was initiated on October 15. In this respect a crackdown was launched in Islamabad, and details emerged that seven people were detained in this respect.
Ensuing this ban, Christians are expressing disappointment over the decision and are claiming this ban has distorted the social harmony. They complain that this step is a great set back to the interfaith harmony while has fanned sectarian discord and the Christian community of the country has been further isolated.
Christians also complain that despite the fact that religious channels are not granted licenses; other religious channels are still airing their content while only Christian TV channels have been forced off air. They complain that the unlicensed other religious TV Channels are still allowed to relay their transmission, yet PEMRA has issued notices to ban only the Christian TV Channels.
In this regard, Father Morris Jalal- Founder and Executive Director of Catholic TV stated: “What is the future of church media in Pakistan? It is a very difficult time for us. We were just trying to reach our own community who are generally ignored by other TV channels.”