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Specialist Guide to the
Global Leaders in Media Law Practice
Pakistan has a transforming film and television industry, growth in the OTT market and a new media law, collectively reshaping the market, say lawyers.
The entertainment industry has had a record-breaking year for streaming, with OTT platforms seen a tool by which to push storylines that help change social values domestically. In March last year, Pakistan’s first Urdu OTT platform launched. UrduFlix offers original Urdu content as well as Urdu-dubbed Turkish dramas.
In other developments, the government introduced a draft media in September 2021. Under the proposed legislation, the government aims to consolidate existing media regulatory bodies and create a single agency to regulate all media, including print, broadcast and social media.
The new regulatory body, the Pakistan Media Development Authority, is expected to have an expanded scope of regulation for digital media.
Commenting on the draft bill, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) stated: ‘RSF and its Pakistani
partner, Freedom Network, are supporting the campaign that Pakistani media outlets and journalists have launched against the proposed legislation, which was first unveiled in June and would create a powerful new entity called the Pakistani Media Development Authority.’
Speaking to Deutsche Welle, Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Fawad Chaudhary, said: “We are trying to engage with the protesting journalists and allow them to submit proposed changes if they have reservations [about the law]. We will not forcefully pass the law and will go through the legislative process with the consensus of all stakeholders, including opposition parties.”
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.
RIAA Barker Gillette 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Ali & Associates
RIAA Barker Gillette
Mandviwalla & Zafar
Ahmed & Qazi
Haidermota & Co
Meer & Hasan
Vellani & Vellani
Abraham & Sarwana
Bharucha & Co.
Irfan & Irfan
Azam & Rai
Jamil & Jamil
LMA Ebrahim Hosain
Qazi Law Offices
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