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Pakistan

Promotion of film, drama vital to foster national narrative internationally: Fawad

  • Information Minister says next National Entertainment Awards will be the largest in country's history
Published December 22, 2021

Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry said on Wednesday that the promotion of film, drama, music, and culture was vital to effectively present the national narrative at the international level.

Addressing a news conference after the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Information, National Arts Council, and PTV regarding National Entertainment Awards, Fawad said that political debates do not promote the national narrative as effectively as the mediums of entertainment.

"These mediums have been weakened," Fawad said. "Unfortunately, we have ruined our film and drama industry."

The minister claimed that during the 1960s, Pakistan was the third-largest film-producing country globally.

He said the current MoU was part of the government's efforts to revive the industry, including bringing back national awards for films, drama, and music.

"During the next year, 22 awards would be given to musicians, artists and films. Through these awards, more than 250 million rupees would be given to leading filmmakers, musicians, and artists," Fawad said.

He said the next National Entertainment Awards would be the largest in the country's history.

"Under the National awards, 22 awards would be given in film, television, and music categories and Rs 250 million would be allocated for these awards," he announced.

The minister shared that a new film policy has been finalized, which would give many incentives to the local filmmakers, adding that foreign content would be taxed under the new policy.

"Imported dramas should be taxed to protect the local entertainment industry," he said.

"Instead of foreign artists, the casting of local ones in advertisement would be encouraged."

He said that a one-window operation for a no-objection certificate (NOC) would be introduced for foreign filmmakers who want to visit Pakistan to shoot their films "as there are many beautiful locations in the country".

He said a film division has been set up in Pakistan Television (PTV) which would encourage young filmmakers.

The minister added that the national TV film division was producing two big-budget movies on the lives of Mughal King Babar and national poet Allama Iqbal with the collaboration of Uzbekistan and Iran, respectively.

Fawad said the special focus was being given to the revival of cinema halls, and they were being given industrial tariff rates instead of commercial ones.

"I personally approached the National Command and Operation Centre for reopening of cinema houses in the country," he said.

The minister shared that for the first time, entertainment channels were included in the advertisement policy of the ministry so that they could flourish.

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