It was found by The Senate Functional Committee more recently that the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) has no jurisdiction over Web TV and Over The Top (OTT) content services. The committee had even in fact called upon the chairman of PEMRA for a briefing with respect to the authority’s recent proposal in order to regulate Web TV and OTT services.
The committee chairman Senator Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar has recently been quoted to have said : “(PEMRA) failed to satisfy us regarding jurisdiction.” This quote came after the committee had conducted a detailed discussion over both the merits as well as the demerits of the proposed regulation.
And so in light of the latest proceedings, the media regulator’s plans are now effectively subject to termination – those of which were made on the 8th of January when PEMRA shared a consultation paper in order to seek comments with regards to the regulation of online streaming media services.
Many have since then had their say on the current position, with Civil society groups, journalists, lawyers and independent digital content producers declaring the proposed regulation as “unacceptable” and suggested that this would lead to the violations of fundamental human rights – which of course includes the right to freedom of expression.
The Media Matters for Democracy in the form of feedback to PEMRA’s proposed policy also went on to highlight that the proposed policy falls out of its legal mandate.
Summarizing all the dialogue that took place, the Committee Chairman Senator Khokhar stated that all the concerns which were highlighted before the committee were indeed significant. He also highlighted the fact that the question of jurisdiction was of the main importance, saying that all the other issues which may or may not have been taken into notice were all just secondary.