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REGULATION, 2011

PAKISTAN ELECTRONIC MEDIA REGULATORY AUTHORITY (DISTRIBUTION SERVICE OPERATIONS) REGULATIONS, 2011

[Gazette of Pakistan, Extraordinary, Part-II, 31st December, 2011]

S. R. O. 1162(I)/2011, dated 2.12.2011.—In exercise of the powers conferred by sub-section (3) of Section 4 read with all other enabling provisions of Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority Ordinance, 2002 (XIII to 2002), the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority is pleased to make the following regulations, namely:-

1.         Short title and commencement.—(1) These regulations shall be called Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Distribution Service Operations) Regulations, 2011.

(2)  The shall come into force at once.

PART-I

2.         Definitions.—(1) Terms and expressions used in these regulations shall have, unless it appears repugnant to the context or provided otherwise, following meaning:

(a)        "application form" means the application form specified by the Authority for applying for grant of a licence;

(b)        "Authority" means the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) established under Section 3 of the Ordinance;

(c)        "authorised officer" means the Chairman, Regional General Manager, officer in-charge of the respective region or any other officer authorized by the Chairman or the Authority for carrying out the purpose of these regulations;

(d)       "basic service" means the TV channels of national broadcasters, non-commercial educational and health related TV channels licensed by the Authority and such other free to air television channels as determined by the Authority to be distributed by a distribution service licensee to its subscribers against a fixed minimum monthly subscription fee;

(e)        "cable television operator" means any person who owns, controls, manages or runs any cable television system;

(f)        "Chairman" means the Chairman of the Authority;

(g)        "Chairperson" means the head of a Council of Complaint;

(h)        "code" means the Code of Conduct for electronic media prescribed by the Authority;

(i)         "compulsory channels" means the television channels of national broadcasters;

(j)         "Council" means the Council of Complaints established under the Ordinance;

(k)        "decoder" means a device which is used for decoding the television signals which can be or is connected to a television receiver and which allows subscribers to television signals;

(l)         "Set-Top-Box" means a device used for receiving and decoding television signals;

(m)       "DTH" means Direct to Home distribution of audio-visual signals received via satellite to small dish antennas across the footprint of the satellite to subscribers.

(n)        "distribution service" means a service which receives broadcast and pre-recorded signals from different TV and radio channels and distributes them to subscribers through cable, wireless, satellite options and Mobile networks and includes Cable TV, LMDS, MMDS, DTH, IPTV, Mobile TV and such other similar technologies;

(o)        "distribution service operator" means any person engaged in the business of distribution service through any technology allowed by the Authority;

(p)        "eligible channel" means a TV channel licensed by the Authority to be eligible for reception and distribution in the country;

(q)        "foreign company” means a company or body corporate organized, and registered under the laws of a foreign government;

(r)        "foreign content" means the content that is produced under the, direct or indirect, creative control of foreigners, foreign companies foreign broadcasters;

(s)        "foreign broadcasting service" means a broadcasting service which is uplinked from outside Pakistan and is received or down-linked inPakistan;

(t)        "free to air broadcasting service" means a broadcasting service made available to the public without subscription fee;

(u)        "Internet TV" means provision of television and radio channels through a uniform resource locator;

(v)        "licence" means a licence issued by the Authority to establish and operate a broadcast media or distribution service;

(w)       "licensee" means a person lo whom the Authority has issued a licence;

(x)        "Ordinance" means the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority Ordinance, 2002 as amended from time to time;

(y)        "pay TV channel" means a TV channel for which fee is to be paid to the broadcaster or its authorized distributor for its reception;

(z)        "regulations" means the regulations made under the Ordinance;

(aa)      "rules" means the rules made under the Ordinance;

(bb)      "subscriber's equipment" means equipment installed at subscriber premises for receiving the television or radio service;

(2)  Words and phrases used but not defined in these regulations, unless the context otherwise requires, shall have the meanings assigned to them in the Ordinance, and the rules made thereunder.

PART II

LICENSING CRITERIA

3.         Licence to operate.—(1) No person shall establish or operate a distribution service except after obtaining a licence from the Authority.

(2)  Every licence shall be subject to such terms and conditions as given in the Ordinance, the rules, these regulations or as otherwise provided by the Authority.

4.  Particulars of application for grant of a licence to operate distribution service station.—(1) The application for grant of a licence to operate a distribution service network shall be made on the Application Form specified by the Authority for this purpose.

(2)        In relevant, cases, the applicant shall indicate the desired category of licence from amongst the categories specified by the Authority:

Provided that the Authority may determine appropriate category of the licence depending on the area of operation, number of subscribers and keeping in view other relevant factors.

(3)  Every application for grant of licence shall be accompanied by such non-refundable application processing fee as determined by the Authority.

5. Criteria for evaluating licence application.—(1) Applications for the grant of a licence shall, in the first instance, be short listed in accordance with the prescribed criteria.

(2)        The applicant who is, directly or indirectly, holding a licence issued by the Authority shall not be issued any further licence unless all outstanding dues in respect of all the licences held by such applicant, directly or indirectly, have been paid and a satisfactory report has been obtained regarding compliance with the relevant laws from concerned wings of the Authority:

Provided that a maximum number of distribution service licences that may be issued, to a person or any of its directors or partners where such person is a company or firm, directly or indirectly, shall not exceed a total of four distribution service licences:

Provided further that except in the case of landing rights permission, a person shall not be granted more than one distribution service licence in the same area of operation.

(3)        The applicant shall certify that it is not a defaulter of the Authority, any financial institution, Federal Board of Revenue or any other organization/entity owned or operated by the government.

(4)        The applicant shall be registered with the relevant tax authorities for, inter alia, sales tax and income tax.

(5)        A licensee who owns, controls, operates or manages directly or indirectly broadcast media or landing rights permission shall not be granted any other distribution service licence and vice versa.

6.         Issuance of licence.—(1) The Authority shall process each application and on being satisfied that the applicant(s) fulfils the eligibility criteria may, on receipt of the applicable licence fee and prescribed security deposit, issue licence to the applicant(s):

Provided that security deposit shall be refundable after one year of satisfactory performance by the licensee and may be forfeited where the licensee has either failed to commence its operation within given time or show satisfactory performance for one continuous year:

Provided further that if at any time it is found that the licensee had provided false or misleading information/certificate for issuance of the licence, the licence shall be withdrawn.

(2)  The Authority, if satisfied that the applicant is not eligible for grant of licence or the issuance of licence to a particular person is not in the public interest, may refuse grant of licence to such person by recording reasons in writing.

7.         Fees and security deposits.—(1) The licence and annual renewal fees payable pursuant to these regulations shall be as determined by the Authority from time to time.

(2)  A surcharge at the rate of ten percent per month, upto a maximum of thirty percent, for late payment of annual fee or licence renewal fee, as the case may be, shall be payable:

Provided that and without prejudice to the power of the Authority to revoke a licence, if a licensee fails to pay the outstanding dues including surcharge after expiry of three months from the due date, the licence shall stand suspended and equipment shall be seized by the authorized officer. However, the equipment may be returned on payment of outstanding dues and such fine as the Authority may determine.

8.         General Licence terms & conditions.—(1) The licensee shall operate only within the area of operation as specified in the licence.

(2)  A licensee shall maintain a record and register of the channels distributed by it for a period not less than ninety days.

(3)        A licensee shall not relay any In-house channel unless specific permission has been obtained from the Authority after fulfillment of prescribed criteria, payment of applicable tee and other dues.

(4)        A licensee shall maintain a complete record of programmes and advertisements aired on its In-House channels for a period not less than ninety days and provide the same to the Authority whenever so required.

(5)        A licence shall be withdrawn, if the licensee fails to put into operation the distribution service station within a period of one year or as specified in its licence.

(6)        A. licensee shall not change the location of its head-end, business address, data center, transmitter location, complaint center, earth station etc. as the case may be, without prior which permission of the Authority.

(7)        A licensee shall club channels of similar category/genre together in order to ensure that searching of relevant channels by the subscribers is facilitated.

(8)        A licensee shall include compulsory channels in the basic service.

(9)        Except in the case of Force Majeure, a licensee shall not change the position of any channel being distributed by it unless a forty eight hour prior notice has been given to its subscribers.

(10)      A licensee shall not provide its signal to any other person for distribution unless prior approval of the Authority has been obtained and such person holds a valid distribution service licence from the Authority:

Provided that the signal shall only be distributed within the area of operation of the licensee.

(11)  A distribution service licensee and licensed TV channel may enter into distribution service agreement with each other and provide a copy of the same to the Authority whenever so required.

(12)  A licensee shall comply with the local laws of Pakistan and shall not enter into any foreign or local agreement that is in violation of the Ordinance, and the rules and regulations made thereunder.

9.  Renewal of Licence.—(1) The licence shall be valid for such period as specified in the licence subject to payment of annual fee and compliance with the relevant laws and may be renewed for a similar term subject to following:

(i)         fulfillment of eligibility criteria and other conditions as provided in the Ordinance, rules, these regulations or otherwise;

(ii)        satisfactory past performance;

(iii)       proof of registration with tax authorities for income tax and sales tax;

(iv)       the applicant must not be a defaulter of any financial institution, Federal Board of Revenue or any organization/entity owned or operated by the Government of Pakistan;

(v)        payment of renewal fee as applicable at the time of renewal; and

(vi)       payment of outstanding dues in respect of all licences that are held by the applicant, directly or indirectly:

                        Provided that in the case of renewal of licence of Cable TV in category B-3 and above, the applicant (if already not a company) shall also form a company under the same management and a minimum paid-up capital of three million rupees whose object clause shall allow entry in the business of cable TV and subject to the above, the licence shall be renewed in the name of the company.

(2)  The licensee shall apply for renewal of its licence at least six months prior to expiry of the licence.

10.       Subscription rates.—(1) A licensee shall not charge subscription fee at a rate higher than the maximum fee determined by the Authority from time to time.

(2)  A licensee shall not discriminate against any subscriber in offering service and setting charges.

11.       Voice or data services over distribution service network.—A distribution service licensee shall not offer voice or data services over its network unless prior licence from Pakistan Telecommunication Authority under the relevant laws has been obtained:

Provided that the licensee shall ensure that the quality of service is not compromised or deteriorated.

12.       In-House channel permission conditions.—(1) Each distribution service licensee having In-House channel permission shall abide by the terms and conditions of the permission.

(2)  During a regular programme a continuous break for advertising shall not exceed three minutes and duration between two such successive breaks shall not be less than fifteen minutes:

Provided that during the transmission of any given one hour, the total duration of advertisements shall not exceed a maximum of twelve minutes.

13.       Copyrights.—(1) A licensee shall be responsible for ensuring that copyright obligations with respect to the programmes or channels being relayed over the system are fulfilled.

(2)  Neither the Authority nor any employee of the Authority shall be liable for any offence, damage or other injury which anyone may suffer because of the negligence or violation of any law or code of conduct by the licensee or ensuing from any other source.

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