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Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) issued a suggestion announcing that a license fee should be charged from digital content creators including web channels, Over The Top TV content services ( OTT ) that includes YouTube channels across Pakistan.


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The PEMRA website quotes, 

The extensive growth of the web TV & OTT market and the excessive disruption of these services to traditional broadcast services have made regulators vigilant all over the world. Moreover, the broadcasters /TV operators and other traditional service providers are losing their market share to online web TV and content providers.

There are other regulatory issues also which necessitate it to regulate & hence license the Web TV & OTT services. For example, all PEMRA licensed broadcasters are subject to compliance with code of conduct-2015 which requires the operators to have in-house delaying mechanism and

editorial control to filter out content which is not in compliance with the code of conduct etc. However, the web TV and OTT players are not subject to any code of conduct & other PEMRA laws. Moreover, as a regulator, it is the responsibility of PEMRA to provide a level playing field to all. Since OTT & Web TV operators are competing for the same advertisement or subscription revenue as the licensed operators…

The Youtube Licence should become mandatory. Here is the link to PEMRA suggestions/proposals to regulate digital content issued on the 8th of January. Comments can be submitted no later than the 14th of February’20.

The fee of the Youtube License is suggested to be Rs 5 million for all digital content creators and incase your content deals with topics of current affairs the fee is around Rs 10 million.

Content creators around the globe practice the freedom of speech while in Pakistan things are not the same. The license fee will become a hurdle for a lot of creators.

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The driving force behind this policy is perhaps certain social media channels.

Pakistan has already missed out on a huge learning bracket back in 2012 when Youtube was banned in the country for three years.

At that point in time, vlogging had just begun and content creators across the globe on Youtube were amateurs. There was plenty of room for making mistakes and learning.

Once the ban was lifted after three years, Pakistani content creators had to compete in an international market that had already polished their skills leaving us far behind in the digital world.

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