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Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Still over 100 illegal FM stations in Pakistan’s NWFP

From Media Network weblog:

The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PERMA) admitted yesterday that more than 100 seminaries were still operating illegal FM radio stations across the North West Frontier Province (NWFP). At least 115 illegal FM radio stations are in operation all over the NWFP, sources revealed, while requesting anonymity. They said that while most seminaries used FM radio broadcasts to impart Islamic teachings, many used them to spread sectarian hatred.

When PERMA first launched its crackdown on illegal stations, the police claimed to have put 90 such stations out of operation. However, PERMA sources described these claims as being far from reality, pointing out that all these radio stations were still broadcasting on air. They pointed out that if there had been an adequate counter-verification system to check police claims, PERMA officials would have at least have seen the seized equipment following the reported closure of illegal stations.

In addition to being used to stoke sectarian unrest, PERMA officials stressed that the illegal broadcasts posed a serious threat to the police’s wireless systems as well as to passenger and fighter plane navigation systems. The illegal FM stations are hijacking others frequencies since they have not obtained their own frequency waves from the army-run Frequency Allocation Board.

However, PERMA sources admitted that the authority lacked the sufficient staff strength to adequately crack down on illegal FM radio stations. “We have 167 staff members countrywide. We cannot control the whole country with such a small staff body,” they admitted.

(Source: Islamic Republic News Agency)

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