The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) however, on Friday refuted the news stories published in a section of press on draft consultation on regulating the Web TV and Over the Top TV (OTT) Content Services in Pakistan. But Pemra did not outright refute that they’ll not be charging any fees from digital content creators.
According to Pemra, “The objective for the consultation on regulating Web TV & Over the Top TV Content Services is elaborated in Section 1.2 of the Consultation Paper wherein it has been elaborated that the extensive growth of the web TV and OTT market and the excessive disruption of these services to traditional broadcast services have made regulators vigilant all over the world. For example all Pemra licensed broadcasters are subject to compliance with Code of Conduct-2015 which required the operators to have in-house time delaying mechanism and editorial control to filter out content which is not in compliance with the Code etc, the Pemra added. However, the web TV and OTT players were not subject to any code of conduct and other Pemra laws. Moreover, as a regulator, it was the responsibility of Pemra to provide a level playing field to all stakeholders. Since OTT & Web TV operators were competing for the same advertisement or subscription revenue as the licensed operators, therefore, it was imperative that the services be regulated at par with other services.
The document proposal itself is very vague. Definitions of what constitutes Web TV and OTT are very vague and left open ended. According to the document, web tv can be any kind of content being uploaded on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. The document doesn’t narrows it down to any specific kind of digital medium. It just puts everything under the web tv banner.
Pemra claims that the license fee won’t hurt YouTubers and that individuals uploading content on YouTube without any commercial gains will be excluded form the fee. But there’s a loophole here. If a channel is running for a long time and churning out content, there is a probability that they’re get sponsors, so does that mean that they have to pay the license fee too?
Pemra’s denial of the news circulating about this proposal doesn’t says anything about these loopholes and also doesn’t specifies what the license fee is actually for and what kind of content creators are applicable to pay it.