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Copyright © Media Law International 2016. All Rights Reserved.

Specialist Guide to the

Global Leaders in Media Law Practice

PAKISTAN

Pakistan has one of South Asia’s most active media markets with a vibrant broadcast sector. Dominated by cable, the audio-visual market includes channels across television technologies.


Direct-to-home (DTH) television became topical after bidding for licences was postponed by the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) just three days ahead of the auction.


Due to take place in December last year, the bidding process is expected to resume in the first half of 2016 and set to involve millions of dollars of investment and revenue.  


Content acquisition deals between India and Pakistan are part of broader collaborations between both countries as local television networks spend on Indian shows including Bigg Boss, Jodha Akbar and Saath Nibhaana Sathiyaare.


Meanwhile Indian entertainment company Eros Now announced an exclusive content deal in June last year with Pakistan’s Hum TV, allowing Indian subscribers to view Hum TV’s content 48 hours prior to its telecast on other platforms.

Commenting on the agreement, Eros Now CEO Rishika Lulla Singh said: “The partnership with a leading channel like Hum TV will give our subscribers an opportunity to view the much sought after and varied Pakistani content.”


Media lawyers highlight radio as a segment set to change as the future of FM radio is debated nationally.


While PEMRA is only authorised to regulate the private broadcast sector, private owners argue that state-run broadcasters have an unfair advantage as they benefit from millions of rupees in annual government grants while also receiving advertising funds from the private sector.


Independent broadcasters call for fair distribution of advertising business on the basis of reach of FM radio stations and seek regulatory approval to broadcast a percentage of foreign content as done by government-owned radio networks.

TIER 1

Ali & Associates has leading industry expertise with a high portfolio client base. The firm acts for Disney, TV One, music channel 9XM and Independent Media Corp. In highlighted work the team acted for a subsidiary of Sony Television on the bidding process for exclusive global television rights for Pakistan’s cricket matches, auctioned for the first time for a period of five years. Lawyers have in-depth knowledge of media law and work on cross-sector deals and cases.


Founded in 1983, Irfan & Irfan is an established name in the legal market. The firm’s core competence areas are intellectual property, cyber law and e-commerce. Lawyers advise on data protection, online content and copyright. Members of the firm have served on government panels and committees focussed on national laws relating to e-commerce and digital information.


RIAALAW has two decades of experience in the local legal market, with offices in Karachi, Islamabad, Lahore, Peshawar and Kabul. The firm’s media law focus attracts clients such as Pak Media Communications and Merchant Holdings. Lawyers handle a range of matters involving online media and the music sector, from advisory and transactional to contractual and litigation.


TIER 2

HaidermotaBNR & Co works closely with its affiliated firm in Dubai, Anjarwala, Collins & Haidermota. The firm’s TMT lawyers work on multiple cases involving corporate and commercial transactions and have significant experience acting for clients in the Middle East, Pakistan, UK and Canada.


Meer & Hasan is one of the region’s most established firms specialising in media law. The firm’s experience includes acting for the BBC in a case of unauthorised representation by a local radio station. In a separate case, lawyers advised on the use of insignias of Pakistan Armed Forces in the popular US television series Homeland, aired by US channel Showtime.


Media sector work at Vellani & Vellani is closely connected with the firm’s intellectual property specialisation. Advising local and international clients, lawyers advise on licensing requirements, the protection of intellectual property rights, investments, regulations and tax.


TIER 3

Khursheed Khan’s areas of practice include entertainment, advertising, gaming, theatre and film. With a broad industry focus, the firm’s lawyers advise on television and motion pictures, sports law and joint ventures. The team has in-depth knowledge of digital media, copyright and data protection.  


Mandviwalla & Zafar acts for leading broadcasting companies and satellite operators. The team advises on agreements for satellite channels and distribution platforms. Lawyers also advise on regulatory frameworks for establishing television channels.


Top

Ranking and editorials

TIER 1

Ali & Associates

Irfan & Irfan  

RIAALAW


TIER 2

HaidermotaBNR  

Meer & Hasan

Qazi Law Offices  

Vellani & Vellani   


TIER 3

Azam & Rai  

Bharucha & Co.

Jamil & Jamil  

Khursheed Khan  

Mandviwalla & Zafar

Surridge & Beecheno  


TIER 4

Abraham & Sarwana

Ahmed & Qazi

Daudpota International  

Liaquat Merchant Associates  

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