Why Pakistani FM channels, playing almost 80% Indian music, go without taxes?


by Rizwanaa Shaikh

pakistan fm channels playing indian musicIn budget 2013-14, taxes were enforced on foreign produced films and dramas (1 million and 100,000 Rs/episode respectively). This has been discussing on web, electronic, and print media during last few weeks as a good omen for Lollywood’s betterment and government’s treasure. It is also being criticized as legalizing the foreign cultural invasion, from a different angle.

TV and film has been very much talked about but no one noticed that Pakistani FM channels playing almost 80% Indian music. It also falls in the category of foreign productions, then why it goes without tax while it’s enforced on the other two formats, drama and film?

Indian music on our FM channels started in mid 2000s, during the reign of PML (Q) and former military president Parvaiz Musharraf. Gradually, it began to have more and more span of air time which is now covering almost 80% of it.

Fm 89, 91, 100, 101, 103, 105, 106.2, 107.4 and others operating locally in small cities throughout Pakistan are making money through Indian music. They are of the view that they have to follow the trend, i.e. what the audience demands. So far the trend is concerned, why our media or people forget the fact that the trends are set by the media itself. If our “esteemed” FM channels hold the hand of listeners and take them to a foreign or outer world, who should be blamed, media itself or the listeners?

Regarding the present situation, there must be a proper monitoring system to check out the air time given to foreign music and the shows promoting Indian content as well as the revenue generated through this so a percentage of tax can be decided. It is the responsibility of government to devise a proper tax policy for these channels.

Two of the main questions are there in this matter:

  • If 17% GST can be enforced on a common man, then why these media giants minting hundreds of thousands rupees business in a day remain out of tax net?
  • Why the presenters of these FM channels take ill to on air or talk about our own music and content?

Anyone has the answers?

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