Earlier, PEMRA had banned a local radio channel for broadcasting BBC news headlines, but that was just the warmup for the main act. Pemra, the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority, blocked the Discovery channels recently, along with a random assortment of 31 other channels as a New Year’s gift to the whole country. Now, twisted as they may be, for the benefit of future generations to come here are the thought processes behind their decisions:
h4. Ban all Indian TV channels
* Censor 1: “The horror! Think of the children! They will grow up corrupted watching all those songs and dances!”
* Censor 2: “I know, I know old chap, now that the local channels have copied all their shows we certainly don’t need no steenking Indian TV!”
* Toady 1: “But, but, but, boss, all you talk about is the million and 1 Indian movies you grew up watching….”
* Censor 1: “Toady, you have to understand, us high minded types at the top of the political food chain have built up Anti-India TV defences, so we are safe, but the younger generation is at great risk!.”
Censor 2: “Just imagine if they started watching Antakshari!”
And so it passes that all Indian TV is banned.
h4. Sports Channels
* Censor 1: “Oh my god there are women playing soccer on this EPSN!”
* Censor 2: “Thats not all, they’re actually good at it! And they play billiards as well!”
* Censor 1: “Can’t have that now, must ban all these foreign sports channels. I mean, whoever allowed them in the first place???”
* Toady 1 “um, uh, Sir, but I thought it was us.. ” -shuts up after both censors glare at him.
* Censor 1: “Look Toady, I know you’re young, but even you should know that just one sports channel is enough – after all there is only one Pakistan cricket team, right?”
h4. National Geographic
* Censor 1: “Ok guys, this one is really vile, hell, it’s so bad I can’t even talk about it…”
* Censor 2: “Oh, that NatGeo, I’ve heard about it, it’s one of those blasted channels which tries to brainwash young children – off with it’s head!”
* Censor 1: “Did you see that program they ran claiming it was some nonsense shifting of tectonic plates which casued the earthquake. What rubbish!”
* Censor 2: “Toady, I hope you stay well away from such American propaganda!”.
h4. Discovery History, Science, Civ, Nature
This is a real tough one. Experts have been called upon to try to decipher why Discovery Civilization, Discovery History, Discovery Nature, and that vilest of vile channels, Discovery Science, have been banned by the Pakistan government. This is probably how it went:
* Censor 1: “Yaar, the list is only up to 31 channels so far, you all know that number will confuse the big boss Mr. Aziz, why don’t we round it up?”
* Toady 1 claps hands: “Good idea boss!”
* Censor 2 looks at list of channels: “Hey look, there are these 4 channels all starting with the same name! Discover something or the other… I’ve never heard of them before.”
* Toady 1 (punching away on his calculator phone: “Brilliant idea boss! 31+4… uh, that’ll bring the total to 35!”
* Censor 2 pats Toady on the head “Now you’re thinking!”
* Censor 1 looks at watch and notices it’s already 12:30pm: “Oh my god it’s getting late.. I have to run… Toady 1, add these nonsense discovery channels to the list and issue it already. Oh, and make sure the list says _at least 35_ so we can add more later.”
h4. the aftermath
As one can imagine, a few misguided folks tried to protest. The PM, Shaukat Aziz explains: “PEMRA should have a lean structure. It should have mobile inspection teams and technology driven enforcement, and obviously if we allow so many channels than they won’t be able to keep an eye on them all. Aziz also said that Pakistan had an open media policy but the government could not allow programmes that were against the faith, culture and tradition of the country”. Chairman of PEMRA Iftikhar Rashid says the ban will continue on all foreign channels that negate the *social, cultural and religious values of Pakistan.* The Chairman PEMRA was later spotted at a conference congraluting himself.
It is good to know that someone is watching out for the *social, cultural and religious values of Pakistan.* Decades of watching Indian movies have trained these someone well. Now if they would just tell us once and for all what exactly the ‘social, cultural and religious values of Pakistan’ are, I am sure all those pesky know-nothing 140 million ‘citizens’ would shut up and be happy with the whatever channels they have left.