Govt announces formation of federal censor board, recognition of cinema as an industry

Updated March 07, 2020

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Government spokesperson Firdous Ashiq Awan announced on Saturday that the government will form a federal censor board and take steps to revive the film industry. — DawnNewsTV
Government spokesperson Firdous Ashiq Awan announced on Saturday that the government will form a federal censor board and take steps to revive the film industry. — DawnNewsTV

The government on Saturday announced the formation of a federal censor board that will work in conjunction with the provincial censor boards across the country.

The announcement was made by Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Firdous Ashiq Awan during a news conference in Lahore.

"After the 18th Amendment, provinces had established different censor boards so a uniform policy could not be created," she said, adding that the matter of a new federal censor board would be presented in the Council of Common Interests (CCI).

Awan also announced that the government would be recognising cinema as an industry as it had done with film production. "The positive image of Pakistan in the world community that is linked with tourism will not be complete without reviving cinemas across the country," she said.

The SAPM said that people associated with filmmaking had met Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday and informed him of their problems, adding that the government has analysed its priorities regarding a new film policy.

"The prime minister made it clear to the film producers yesterday that Pakistan's identity, culture and religion is our pride and we have to return to it ... Islamic values and ideology will be propagated through films."

She added that a committee will present a report on the threats and problems afflicting the film industry. The government will also accept valid demands of the film industry before it announces a new film policy.

"We are going to incorporate all [cinema owners'] valid concerns. No policy can be made without consulting all stakeholders."

While commending the desire of people affiliated with film-making and production to invest in the country and transmit cultural values to the next generation, Awan said the government wanted to support local producers and connect them to audiences. She added that the government needs to revive the industry so that the "economic wheel turns".

"The information ministry will also forward recommendations to the prime minister to exempt film producers and cinema owners from certain taxes," the government spokesperson said.

Awan also announced that preparations would be made to screen films in cinemas near the Kartarpur Corridor as well as other parts of the country.

Meanwhile, the prime minister's special assistant Sayed Zulfiqar Bukhari tweeted that the premier chaired a meeting with cinema owners to recognise them as an industry. He further said that he would be meeting with all stakeholders himself to further the prime minister's "vision for Pakistani cinema".

Film industry appreciates government's support

Seasoned film producer Syed Noor who was also present at the news conference said that the industry is receiving support from the government for the first time. "I have been in this industry for 50 years but this is the first time I have seen the government doing something ... the industry will receive support."

Pakistan Film Producers Association Chairman Amjad Rashid said that members of the association had met with SAPM Awan several times and the government had accepted nearly all of their demands. He added that the government's help is very necessary for the industry and that the people would soon hear "good news".