Federal Minister Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb Wednesday inaugurated PTV Films Division and PakFlix to promote fresh quality content and to bring 75 years of rich content in the PTV archives to audiences in Pakistan and abroad.
Addressing the inauguration ceremony, Marriyum said the purpose of launching PTV Films was to engage the creative youth of the country in filmmaking through PTV's own productions and through joint ventures. These films would be televised on PTV Home, she said.
The purpose is not just to bring these films to the PTV screen but to generate quality content. In addition to this PTV Film division, another initiative was being launched by the name of PakFlix which would feature the 75 years of rich content in the form of dramas, films and other genres in the archives of PTV, she told.
There is an extensive audience and market for this content in Pakistan and especially abroad among the Pakistani Diaspora, she pointed out. This project will be a part of the 75 years Golden Jubilee Celebrations of Pakistan.
She also said there is no one-window platform for the film industry to communicate with the ministry, which she believed was necessary. Film is an industry and it requires interfacing with other industries like finance, commerce, import, etc. To address these problems film directorate was being set up where all stakeholders of the film and drama industry will get one-window access to the ministry. This would take effect right after this year's budget, she said.
Marriyum said the role of films in promoting tourism needed to be seriously explored for which the Prime Minister had called for a conference on Film, Tourism and Culture after the budget which would help a lot. She said the intentions of this government and the industry were in the right place and direction which was the key to achieving wonders.
She said it was a task that was started in 2017 and then in 2018 during which Pakistan's first Film Policy was approved. During the same time, Pakistan's first cultural policy was launched for which she thanked Jamal Shah. These were both landmark achievements because the country did not have a film or cultural policy for over 70 years. Due to the absence of the film policy, the Pakistan Film Industry, which was never really given the due attention as other industries, boomed and struggled with unfortunate peaks and troughs.
She said this film policy was created through a broad consensus with all stakeholders on board including executives, artists and producers.
It provided a foundation for the industry to flourish through tax incentives in both film-making and in the development of infrastructure that stages films. The 2018 budget also reflected this initiative, she added. However, after 2018, the enabling environment required to foster this initiative was not provided.
She reminisced that back in the golden days of PTV, the PTV screen was a leading source of social etiquette and narrative for a healthy and vibrant society. But despite the tech-advancement in filmmaking, the quality of content is an area that still could not match up to the past masterpieces through the honesty of profession. The cinema industry was like a family, but now divisions have spoiled the element of collective interest. Providing this platform for collective interest over individual interest is the responsibility of the government, she said.
Marriyum said, "PTV made the mistake of trying to join the race with private channels which was neither its domain nor its mandate, which is why it failed. Building a national narrative and facilitating narratives that support that vision, and ensuring that the national narrative is not overshadowed or lost forever is the mandate of PTV. This was the narrative of social values, tolerance, heritage, culture, tourism, fight against terrorism, and countering its effects on generations that lived through".
The Information Minister said while long-term reforms were necessary, it was extremely challenging to ensure their effective implementation in a period of one-and-a-half years. However, she said that when she was the Minister of Information and Broadcasting in 2018, she took certain steps that immediately boosted progress in certain areas.
She talked about how there was a total absence of content for children on state and private broadcast media as well as film and documentary. This was why the entire generation was growing up on foreign content for children. Also she pointed out that content to promote a healthy, non-confrontational discourse was going to be promoted on PTV and the news content was going to be reduced.
She thanked the PTV Officials and the participants of the event and hoped that these endeavors would bring back the glory days of PTV in-line with the modern day best technologies and practices.
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