PEMRA Increases Taxes on Foreign Content – Will It Discourage The Channels?

There is good news for all the foreign drama haters out there who have been against the airing of foreign shows since the very first day. PEMRA has recently announced that there will be an increased tax on foreign content to protect the local industry from foreign competition. It is about time they took this step to protect our prospering industry from foreign competition.


The trend of foreign shows started with the channel Urdu 1 which started airing Turkish and Indian shows. After the stupendous success of Ishq Mamnu, various other Pakistani channels also started airing Turkish shows. Even now a very famous Turkish show Fatima Gul is being aired on Urdu 1 which has received a remarkable response from audiences. Other Turkish shows include Fareb, Fariha, Bewafaai, Noor that airs on different Pakistani channels like Geo TV, Express and Urdu 1. The sad part is that the story did not end here and Indian shows also started airing on different Pakistani channels on prime slots which irked the viewers to no end. Many celebrities like Faisal Qureshi, Samina Peerzada, Shahood Alvi, Aijaz Aslam, Saba Hameed and many others have been seen voicing their protest against the airing of foreign content on various channels. Other than that there are many Indian shows like Qubool Hai, Badde Ache Lagte Hai, Sapne Suhane Ladakpan Ke, Anamika, Hitler Didi that airs on the channel Express and Geo TV. Recently Hum TV also aired the promos of a Turkish show which shocked and disappointed the audiences. What will be the future of all these shows now?

Following Urdu 1’s lead, Geo has recently launched a new channel Geo Kahani which features Indian, Turkish and Pakistani content. Urdu 1 followed by Geo and Express air the largest number of foreign shows and the increased tax will not be good for them as this might reduce their profit margin by a huge amount. Geo Kahani and Urdu 1 which airs almost 90% foreign content will be in big trouble now!

There are mixed views about the new policy to increase taxes. Here are a few comments posted by various people on Facebook:


“Now that is a big step to protect our culture, this tax should increase every year”

“They were buying them cheap now they will have to spend money. I hope this tax is strictly enforced”

“Stupid decision, you can’t restrict the right of people to entertainment, they will watch what they like…”

“The sad part is that that tax generated will not be used to support and promote our industry…. sorry for being pessimistic but that is how it works”

“But why to promote foreign dramas on Pakistani channels? Our industry is full of talent! Fine you can’t restrict anybody choices if they want to see these shows but it is better if they enjoy through other sources of course. Not acceptable on Pakistani channels!”

“Thank God! Something very much needed & a sensible decision”

“No worries our channel owners are filthy rich, they will pay or they will bribe the authorities and will air those crap!”

“So happy to hear that but let’s see to what extent this policy is implemented”

“Are you kidding! How would it stop them? It is a TV channel and would happily pay the government”



I personally think this is a major step towards discouraging foreign content shown on local channels. If this new policy is effectively implemented then it may reduce the amount of foreign content on different channels. The complete removal of such foreign shows may take a while as there are some loyal viewers of foreign content.

So what do you guys think about this new policy? Will it reduce the amount of foreign content aired on different Pakistani channels?

Mariam Shafiq


My name is Shozib Ali. I have done Bachelors in Media Sciences. Currently Working as an administrator and content writer for reviewit.

  • A good move by PEMRA to put tax on drama. PEMRA should also impose heavy tax on indian reality shows like big boss and dance shows, award shows, indian films onaired on pakistani channels. They should also impose tax on bollywood news that is integral part of our news bulletins. if they do that GEO tv will be the most affected channels, as they bank heavily on indian content.

  • it's not a step taken by pemra, but recommendation of the new federal government for pemra to do so. and how pemra will implement this decision when i) it is itself promoter of this act through Urdu1 for individual gains (also to end monopoly of GEO group over content) and ii) channel owners have almost taken over pemra in last five years and they are not accepting authority of pemra beyond collection of meager annual fee collection on its part. now when indian channels such as Sony & Star Plus have been almost stopped through cable networks across the country, incumbent head of PEMRA is giving illegal favour by forcing cable operators to show Geo Kahani & Geo Tez in order to gain favour of the Geo group. all are happy over deal; chairman pemra, Geo group and even the supreme court at expense of the new government's good intentions to regulate electronic media that is yet to be witnessed.

  • I would have expected govt to impose a complete ban on foreign content!Just when Pakistani drama industry has started to rise again, Groups Like GEO are airing turkish shows. WE NEED TO PROMOTE OUR CULTURE AND DRAMAS

  • They earn even more through the adds they are getting and they are getting adds because people are watching them..this makes no difference.indian content should be banned but NOT turkish because they are WORTH it.!!! Strong scripts,brilliant actors,fluent dubbing,flawless work ,the music of course is highly appealing,rather inducing! and its not just pakistan TURKISH DRAMAS ARE DUBBED ALL OVER THE WORLD SPECIALLY THE ARAB COUNTRIES…what is important is the audience,nobody can enforce or DICTATE us what to watch and what NOT to…….TURKISH DRAMAS ARE THE BEST; THE MORE A FEW STOP THEM THE GREATER THE PEOPLE WATCH THEM..thats it!THESE ACTORS GO TO INDIA AND WORK WHICH IS MOSTLY DISGRACEFUL,CLAIM TO HAVE NO BOUNDARIES THEN WHY ARE THEY DAMN CREATING BOUNDARIES FOR US????? ..people under this PROPAGATED SO-CALLED LIMITED INFLUENCE BY ACTOR MAFIAS SHOULD WAKE UP!!! .bloody loosers, they dont worry pakistan but just ther OWN POCKETS,they fear competition coz they know they ll loose.UNDERSTAND & WATCH WHATEVER attracts …… ishqe mamnoon,fatmagul, kuzey guney even more…koi kya kar lega;p

    • yes Turkish dramas are much better than over-emotional cheap indian dramas always promoting indian culture.

  • I really encourage pemra for this gr8 step …….. we should only promote Pakistani dramas …….these indian and Turkish dramas just promote romance and all the activities tht badly effects the muslim societY and muslim culture …………….I appreciate EXCELLENT PEMRA ( KEEP IT UP !)

    • we do have romance in our dramas too………..but it is in a contained way…….we can watch it with our family………..but turkish and indian dramas contain such contents which are having a bad impact on our society…..honestly speaking they are openly supporting vulgarity and ostentatiousness!!!!!!

    • we should promote our dramas instead of these foreign contents…….i think PERMA should impose a complete ban on these meaningless turkish and indian dramas…..because they are really cheap and vulgar……..!!!!!!

  • What do u mean romance? Don't we have romance in our dramas? And our audience still watch it? Turkey is also a Muslim country. You can't just encourage people not to watch something they are interested in watching. Our dramas may be popular, but theirs are even more popular. So please, don't overreact just because you think that they are easily stealing our thunder.. For example, Humsafar was a huge hit. Why not dub that into other languages and put them on various channels globally. And we will have a balance of Pakistani Dramas, Turkish Dramas and Indian dramas. The Pakistan television industry will never die…..

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