THE United Producers Association (UPA), a body of local TV soap opera producers, is protesting against the airing of foreign soap operas at prime time in Pakistan. After the success of a Turkish soap opera, Pakistani entertainment channels shelved a dozen of ongoing local TV serials and purchased a number of Turkish dramas.

Fearing a financial loss, the UPA is protesting and demanding a ban on the foreign entertainment content. Along with the other reasons, the UPA is terming this trend a threat to Pakistani culture and values.

The Senate’s Standing Committee on Information and Broadcasting raised its concern over the cultural values of the foreign soap operas.

The UPA and other bodies are trying to convert an economic issue into a cultural and Islamic one. In my opinion, dangerous battlegrounds are being drawn. On religious, cultural grounds, right - wing religious political parties will hijack the issue, in a society vulnerable to fundamental ideas.

The demand for a ban on cultural products is not a new phenomenon. After the Marshall Plan, import duties on Hollywood movies were softened in France and other Western European countries. Moreover, 20 per cent of screen time had been given to Hollywood movies.

In the late 1960s, French directors and producers protested against the policy and forced the government to review its policy.

In 1955, W.Z. Ahmad and Lollywood directors, producers and actors started ‘jaal agitation’ and demanded a ban on Indian films. The demand was made only on economic grounds, not religious and cultural.

The UPA should also fight its battle on economic grounds rather than religious and cultural ones. The producer should also try to compete in the international market by maintaining the high standard of their cultural products.

Like other import goods, Pakistan should also impose duties on the import of cultural products. Any protest or ban on foreign cultural products on the basis of culture and religion will leave a bad impression on the image of Pakistan.

AAMIR RAZA Islamabad

Foreign culture

ARTISTES, producers and many others who are engaged with the drama industry, directly or indirectly, have now come out of their deep slumber all of a sudden and are protesting against foreign contents.

My question, to them all, is: why did they all suddenly stand against the foreign content? According to my knowledge, the foreign content is not new for our channels because before these Turkish and Spanish soaps, Indian content has been frequently on the air on Pakistani TV channels. Even a few years ago some of our Pakistani producers started casting Indian actors in their dramas.

Now suddenly everyone is against the foreign content. My question to them is, why are they against the Turkish and the Spanish content only and not against the Indian content? Is their protest only about the foreign content telecast on prime time? Why didn’t they take any steps when the foreign content was on air on Pakistani TV channels earlier? However, the authorities concerned should ban all such content which affects our culture and economy.

QURATUL AIN ALI Karachi

Updated Dec 30, 2012 03:43am

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Comments (4) (Closed)


Jamshed
Dec 30, 2012 12:32pm
Even if a duty of 100% is imposed on these foreign imports, they will still be a bargain. Unfortunately, Pakistani serials are produced by a cartel that charges a steep price for each episode.
Senseless Banter
Dec 30, 2012 03:03pm
hhmm....so should we let foreigners watch our movies plays or dramas? Will that be invading their culture?
rich
Dec 30, 2012 07:39pm
and i thought turki was a brother islamic nation i had seen a talk show on pakistni telivision, which wanted indian content banned and had given the idea that we could import progrsm from brother islamic nation like indoenasia,tutkey, egypt ect so now wjat went wrong?
Marina
Dec 31, 2012 05:19am
Had these so-called standard bearers of Pakistani culture (UPA) abstained themselves from producing the dramas equiped with the western wardrobe, they would not have faced a situation like this. Owing to the fact of marginal difference between Pakistani serials and the Turkish ones, the current liberal policy should be retained to strengthen to fraternal ties with Turkey.