Print Version    Email to Friend
Pakistan clamp on unlicensed media

LAHORE (AsiaNews): The Pakistan Media Regulatory Authority has closed 11 unlicensed Christian television channels in a communiqué that orders them to take the necessary measures to stop their listed programmes.

They include Catholic TV, run by the archdiocese of Lahore. The director, Father Morris Jalal, claims it is the first time that a formal notification of authorities has targeted channels with Christian content.

“Our goal is not to convert, but to communicate with our own communities. We should not be considered a threat,” he said.

He added, “Many Islamic channels also operate without permission. We too are citizens and we demand the same treatment.”

However, Father Robert McCulloch, a long-time missionary to Pakistan, told the Sunday Examiner that this is the very point. 

Although he noted that Catholic TV has been creative in catechising and connecting with the people, the real impetus for the government action is that some channels are being run by extremists connected with recent terrorist attacks into India and Kashmir. “It is not aimed at Christians,” the Columban missionary insisted. “It is across the board and the demand from the regulatory authority is that permits be obtained for operation.”

Father McCulloch added that along the same lines, the provincial government in the Sindh is demanding all hospitals in the area that do not have a medical waste incinerator be closed down.

“If any hospital is closed down, it will not be because it is Christian,” he noted.

However, most Christian broadcasters are based outside the country. Saleem Iqbal, the director of Isaac TV, a satellite broadcast out of Hong Kong, says they will continue to broadcast online.

More from this section