Islamabad, Jan 24: The Pakistan government has granted licences to 12 more private TV channels, raising the total number of TV channels operating in the country to 48.
Speaking on the occasion, Pakistan Minister of Information and Broadcasting Nisar A. Memon said that the country was promoting a policy of media freedom in the spirit of democracy. "Pakistani media is entering a new political phase. This major initiative of opening up of media is based on the vision of President Pervez Musharraf, pronounced under the Pemra Ordinance of 2002. The government is promoting a policy of media freedom in the spirit of democracy," the Dawn quoted Memon as saying.
The channels which were awarded licences include the first Balochi channel, Sabz Baat, and Mehran, Dharti (both Sindhi channels), Royal (it already had landing rights and now it will operate from Lahore), Dunya, Jinnah (owned by the developer of the Bahria Town Malik Riaz) and the recently-launched Express News.
Aaj, Punjab and Star Asia, KTN and Kashish, which have been operating for some time, were awarded licences to operate on a regular basis, added the paper.
If networks with landing rights are also considered, there are 80 on-air channels in the country. Besides, nearly 106 FM radio channels also operate under licence.