The reversal of the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority’s (PEMRA) ban on Indian content; both films and talk shows by the Lahore High Court (LHC) Chief Justice is an unfortunate reversal of a policy that was sensible. The petition, filed by Leo Communications (parent organisation of Filmazia), claimed that PEMRA cannot impose a ban; especially if the federal government has no reservations with the content being aired. CJ Mansoor Ali Shah’s ruling in favour of the petitioner was based on there being no real reason for the ban; even though the logic behind the ban should be obvious – the overt hostility from India and the imposition of a similar ban makes this one of PEMRA’s more reasonable decisions.

At a time when the eastern neighbour is openly looking to isolate Pakistan diplomatically and threatening the country’s national security – both internally and externally – banning content coming in from India is the least that is expected of the government.

PEMRA’s reasons for the ban are clear – allowing in content from a hostile country is not really in the national interest of the country. The troops stationed on the border – exposed to daily attacks from across the Line of Control (LoC) cannot be afforded the discourtesy of projecting the enemy in a positive image, especially when it is at its most hostile.

In any case, Indian films are only one source in a wide range of entertainment available from across the world. The increasing popularity of Hollywood films in the country, alongside a very noticeable improvement in Lollywood mean that channels that make money through showing Indian films can look to broaden the scope of the entertainment being provided. The need for the ban is there, and there is no obvious damage being caused to Pakistan’s media industry as a result.