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Pakistan bans online payments for Indian electronic media content (report)

The new circular could affect online payments for the Direct to Home (DTH) service.

The Pakistani government has called on Pakistani banks to immediately ban the country’s online payments for subscription to electronic media content from India, according to a news report on Friday.

The decision was taken by the Council of Ministers on November 9. Dawn the newspaper reported, adding that banking authorities have also been asked to submit a compliance report to the State Bank of Pakistan, the country’s central bank, by November 13.

We received a letter from the Cabinet Division of the Government of Pakistan, in which they asked us to stop various payment methods, including credit cards, for subscription (to) Indian content in Pakistan, including the Zee5 video-on-demand service, according to the circular.

It is advisable to ensure the careful observance of the aforementioned instructions from the Government of Pakistan and submit the compliance status to the State Bank of Pakistan before November 13, 2020, the circular added.

When contacted, former Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) Chairman Absar Alam said Indian content was already banned in Pakistan, so the new circular could affect online payments for the Direct to Home service (DTH).

He said those with DTH facilities mostly use Indian content and make payments online.

Now the subscriber cannot pay directly from Pakistan, but the Indian provider can get payments from other countries like UAE.

In India, DTH broadcast service refers to the distribution of multi-channel television programs using a satellite system and delivering television signals directly to subscribers’ premises.

No data is available on how many Pakistanis use this option to subscribe to Indian content.

Bankers said they only need to make sure that no payments are made from Pakistan for Indian content.

In response to a question, an official at one of the largest local channels said that he only subscribed to certain content from India and that all payments are made through Dubai, so ‘No online payment from Pakistan was required.

Sources in the entertainment community said they were sure the online payment method ban was imposed following a drama series broadcast by an Indian channel, according to the report.

The show sparked controversy when PEMRA banned it in Pakistan after a backlash against a clip that went viral on social media, according to the report.

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