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Pakistan may lift ban on STAR TV

October 23, 2004 16:43 IST

Pakistan's Information Ministry has requested the government to allow India-based STAR satellite television channels, which were banned along with other Indian channels, to be aired by cable operators.

The ministry sent a formal summary to Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz's office, seeking approval to grant permission to STAR TV channels.

Classifying the STAR network as a non-Indian multinational media group, the ministry said it could be allowed distribution and marketing in Pakistan, the local daily The News reported on Saturday.
    
Several cable television operators in Islamabad have already begun showing the STAR Plus and STAR Utsav channels.

The ministry pressed for continuing the ban on Indian channels like Zee TV, Aaj Tak and Doordarshan.
    
The ban on Indian channels from 2001 continues despite a thaw in relations.

The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority continued the ban on the ground that Pakistani private channels would suffer as the Indian channels were much sought after in Pakistan.

The government declined to lift the ban on Indian channels despite a nationwide strike by cable operators, who said business had been hit.

Officials favoring lifting of the ban on STAR argue that the company owning the international television channel had assured the Pakistani authorities that it would move to 100 percent Pakistani programming.

The ministry said the STAR network was a subsidiary of News Corporation, one of the world's largest companies listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

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