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Protectionist TV industry against ‘foreign content’

Published Dec 18, 2012 10:21pm


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Television stakeholders stand up against the promotion of foreign content.–Photo by White Star

LAHORE: Feeling insecure in face of the rising trend of dishing out foreign content (plays) on different local TV channels, United Producers Association and television professionals staged a joint protest outside the Lahore Press Club on Monday against the practice.

The protesters, including a number of TV artistes, carrying placards with different slogans expressing their concern over the foreign content, mainly Turkish, being shown on local channels. Their main slogans was ‘Save Pakistan Television Drama Industry’.

They demanded that all Indian and foreign content dubbed in Urdu should be taken off air in Pakistan.

They said the UPA through such protest was trying to save local television drama industry. The UPA, they said, had no objection to foreign channels and programmes if they were in any foreign language or even had subtitles in Urdu.

They demanded the government should stake steps to protect the interests of local industry as was the practice in all other countries.

They also demanded that the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) regulations should be revised in consultation with stakeholders, adding that a permanent role should be given to UPA in revising the rules.

Actor Firdous Jamal said the foreign content was a ‘conspiracy’ against the local TV industry hatched by the wealthy capitalists.

He said the foreign content was not only damaging the local production but also pushing against the wall the directors, producers, technicians and other people associated with the industry.

Usman Pirzada said the trend of dishing out foreign content dubbed in local language was injurious to the health of the local industry.

Actor Rashid Mehmood said foreign plays being shown on different local TV channels did not reflect local culture and traditions and it would also damage the local TV industry.

UPA Vice-Chairman Yasin Malik said the content which was against local culture and values would not be tolerated, adding the artiste community was united against the practice.

Veteran artiste Samina Ahmed regretted that channels were showing dubbed foreign plays and Indian content during prime time instead of plays being produced by local industry.

Ms Ahmed said channels were showing foreign re-runs, ignoring freshly produced local plays which was deplorable.

She said the local drama industry was a growing sector which in the last four or five years had provided employment to a large number of professionals and it kept updating itself with the passage of time when it came to scripts or technical input. The trend of showing foreign content was plying havoc with a thriving TV industry of Pakistan, she added.

“We don’t have any pact with India under which we show their content. Our channels are banned there but we on the other hand are buying their plays and showing on local channels,” she said.

She said with this kind of steps what sort of future we envisage for our younger generation studying film and television production at various local institutions.

Television artiste Maria Wasti said Pakistani culture did not allow such content which was ‘so open’. She also opposed the Indian content, saying it was promoting Indian culture amongst the younger generation.

The protesters also included Khalid Butt, Ghulam Muhayyudin, Shaukat Ali, Simee Raheel, Iftakhar Iffi, Imran Pirzada, Kiran, former PTV Lahore Station general manger Rafique Warraich.


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Comments (49) Closed

Faran Ali Dec 20, 2012 05:15am
"They demanded that all Indian and foreign content dubbed in Urdu should be taken off air in Pakistan." Why just the dubbed. If they want to really save the local industry (which I highly doubt) then they should ban altogether the Soaps, Movies, Ads. Fact is everyone is playing politics no one is clean.
JZ Dec 19, 2012 01:48pm
This protest is a reflection of typical pakistani nature, that unortunately, we all have. Instead of critcizing or demanding band on foreign programes, the local industry should produce the content that every one loves to see. If the local drama's are not worthy than obvious attention would be diverted to the good foreign dramas. The pakistani shows like " Bulbulay " got famous because of its content, not from any regulation.
Shabedeh Dec 19, 2012 01:43pm
I watched on the net, just to test, one eps of "Manahil Aur Khalil" dubbed in Urdu. I must say I was NOT impressed at all. our Pakistani dramas are the BEST!
Mohsin Dec 19, 2012 09:51am
while they're at it, they should argue for a ban on foreign ads as well.
Saeed Ahmed Dec 20, 2012 04:09am
I don't see any issue with showing Turkish channels. The local industry will need to improve their quality and try not to mimic Indian culture. The Pakistani dramas have lost their touch. We are Pakistani and we have a great culture of our own and we do not need to follow others. I suggest they should also view Iranian dramas especially hazrat Yousuf drama series is one of the best I have ever seen.
george Dec 19, 2012 08:22am
UPA Vice-Chairman Yasin Malik said the content which was against local culture and values would not be tolerated, adding the artiste community was united against the practice......killing innocents and terrorise people who does not belong to your religion, you call it culture? What culture you are taliking about?
Missy Dec 19, 2012 01:10pm
I don't think that there is anything wrong in learning about another culture. You don't have to follow it, but it's good knowledge. I practice one religion but I know enough about world religions and cultures. I think this expands your horizon. You cannot remain 'Kooyien Ka Mendhak (frog in a well)' and be oblivious of what is happening in another part of the world. I actually enjoy watching foreign channels to learn about different rituals and cultures, while following my own. How long do we want to keep our kids with a tunnel vision? One day they will have to go out and be on the global scene - do you want them to look so ignorant?
Pak Drama Fan Dec 19, 2012 08:15am
I hope stopping is workable solution, personally I think it todays world blocking of channels is not a possibility.
JBN Dec 20, 2012 08:02am
well there is no difference between pakistani and indian dramas today except for a few which can be counted on your fingers after rigorous thought...anyhow i am surprised by maria wasti that indian dramas are "so open"...really I don't agree with you ma' need to have a reality check and out of all people especially you .....we are hypocrites in every sense of the word..we define hypocrisy, double standards... just go and check our marriage ceremonies...what a waste of time and money...On the other hand these are very people who rush to india for any kind of tiny tiny opportunity to play a role of an extra....
aku Dec 19, 2012 08:08am
Let us please not complicate things with anti-Islamic slogans, it is quite hypocritic. We should protect our local industry, every country does it.... This is a good enough reason!
mansoor Dec 19, 2012 04:28pm
Its not protectionist view, infact common view is that lot of channels look like our neighbour country channel instead of Pakistan, including news style, culture etc, at times i wonder whether is this a Pakistani channel, if that is the case, than what about two nation theory, was that a lie to innocent people of subcontinent. I am shocked.
Jibran Khalil Dec 19, 2012 07:58am
Yes we need to say no to cultural invasion
Deve Dec 19, 2012 07:01am
i think time has gone globally to protect any industry by not getting impacted by invasion of other. You can tax more everything available on internet. Prepare urself for competition, give enviornment for local industry to delievr better content. and To be honest in India or Pakistan - movie test, tv test is almost same. So you cannot supress and put bad content infront of audience..else they will watch illegally which will be exchequre loss to govt. Hope people understand.
shakil ahmed Dec 19, 2012 04:33pm
why should we have to understand other culture through dramas,our dramas are better and meaningful.
Leftist Dec 19, 2012 06:54am
Next would be the news channels.....they want us to stop watching tv !
Abdullah Bhatti Dec 19, 2012 07:19am
Moral of the above story: If you can't compete, shout foul. Works everytime, and doesn't matter to which industry you belong; be it auto industry or entertainment industry. Its like old desi wrestlers who call every local dangal as Bain al Aqwami dangal, but can't compete internationally. Time to grow up and learn to live upto the competetion.
Chanakya Dec 19, 2012 06:47am
Create a better plot, story, cast and whatever goes with it, now you have your destiny in your hand.When we see so many Desi people working every phase of T.V., movie, theatere, music and so on. Pakistan has everything to make great movies, t v shows, music. They don't have even to borrow from any body.Just have courage and have belief in yourselves.
Abdul j Sheikh Dec 19, 2012 04:41pm
The people in the pictures have monopoly in PTV for decades. Some of them think they are intellectual of Pakistan. It is free market now they should compete.
abdulazeez Dec 19, 2012 04:42pm
Pakistani films..............?
Rashid Dec 19, 2012 01:27pm
If you want to destroy an industry, give it protection from competition. Our film industry was given protection from Indian movies right till the end; it didn't help. There are very few Pakistani movies and the once banned content, Indian movies, is screened regularly across Pakistan. If the authorities move to ban the foreign plays, the viewers would be deprived of quality productions and our industry competition which in the long run means deterioration. I am sure there are other creative ways of resolving this issue, as mentioned in Dawn's editorial above.
Kashif Dec 19, 2012 07:30am
Although Foreign content are no suitable but what culture local dramas are promoting as well: Husband interested in sister in law Wife interested in Huband's Friend etc Policy should be sstrict and for all
numbersnumbers Dec 19, 2012 04:41pm
Wow,another "conspiracy" in the land of the pure! When are the "interests" going to realize that the TV channels run what people want to watch, be they dubbed Indian soap operas and movies, or syndicated dramas from the US, Britain, or Turkey to name a few, all dubbed in Urdu. The PUBLIC has voted with their TV remote as to what they want to watch!
Krish Dec 20, 2012 05:40am
DANGEROUS TREND Any industry, be it art, manufacturing or services that demands and gets societal or Government protection sets the country on a downward spiral. Competition is the only means to achieve high quality in all endeavours of life. This has been proven again and again in progressive societies.
Khanm Dec 19, 2012 12:59pm
May be it will help us to understand the other cultures and see life from a different angles, different perspective,Since we didn not learn any thing from our own culture.
Md Imran Dec 19, 2012 08:58pm
All though i am in favor of freedom of expression, it is about time UPA realizes that Pakistan is a Islamic republic and understands its sensitivities. Some of the Indian dramas and movies are pure vulgar and totally against the ethos of this country, and yes, such dramas and movies should be banned from being aired in Pakistan.
Mohsin Khan Dec 19, 2012 12:53pm
The irony is lost on the people who created the placard reading "Say no to cultural invasion" in English. HA
kafi Dec 20, 2012 04:40am
I agree with u
Narinder Dec 19, 2012 10:44am
It is true that all possible efforts should be done to save Pakistani film and TV industry. But, it is ridiculous to suggest that foreign TV channels are destroying local culture.
Syed Waqasullah Dec 20, 2012 04:35am
Don't understand why they are insecure, our cultural dramas have their own USPs. Actually they are insecure as most of the audience have started inclining to such turkish dramas, and reach of such shows has drastically increased. It was initially shown in cities like Islamabad and Lahore, now it is being shown in Karachi, and the mass audience is tuning to such shows and increasing the TRP's
G.A. Dec 19, 2012 06:26pm
Watch any Pakistani drama trailer. You will not see one person smiling. Pakistani plays add only more depression to an already depressed society. No wonder people are turning elsewhere for escapism.
wbwise Dec 20, 2012 02:23am
Here's a solution: Make better shows!
Chanakya Dec 20, 2012 05:22am
Faisal Dec 19, 2012 12:04pm
Just to gauge the huge popularity of Turkish drama serials ---- they are being shown in over 35 countries in the Middle East, some Central Asian countries, and in Russia in either dubbed form or with subtitles. I don't think Pakistani viewers should be denied this choice. Pakistani dramas should compete with the rest of the world and, indeed, they have a large viewership which cannot be eroded by drama serials of any other country. Pakistani dramas are still of a very high quality and have withstood the test of time since the days they were watched in India (despite the "cultural invasion" from India's Bollywood and their TV industry). Regarding the suitability of foreign/Turkish programs, I personally don't have any issue with what is shown on them, but comparing them with some of the Pakistani TV plays, I think more introspection is called for --- for example, in one of the Pakistani private channel's drama serials, they showed a divorced girl lying in bed with the husband of her cousin and in quite a compromising position by any standards! Also, in the same play, they used words like "Keep" and some foul language. So much for the "family plays" produced in Pakistan! Anyway, let's enjoy entertainment from all over the world rather than passing hypocritical moral judgements. Pakistani drama producers should work harder rather than asking for protection.
Gul Dec 19, 2012 03:19pm
You are mixing things. Can't compare apple and oranges.
Faiman Dec 19, 2012 03:11pm
I have seen plenty of with objectionable content shown on prime time in subtle yet visibly there ways in pakistani dramas. As for pemra banning this, COME ON! govrernment interferes in every aspect of our life and now entertainment too. most of the youngsters pick their entertainment off the internet where the playing field is level. So if a show is better the other then others IT will be popular. SO our artists should stop try to use pemra as a's ridiculous! Pakistani people have a right to chose their entertainment!
nagaraja Dec 19, 2012 11:12am
In early nineties it was hat we Indians were fascinated by Pak TV plays, so wonderfully family, less of melodrama, subtle but effective comedy etc. I too have lost my content and contentment in TV.
Gerry D'Cunha Dec 19, 2012 11:22am
Pakistani films and TV dramas in the 60s;70s & 80s were of high standard, the indian audience were crazy to watch pakistan' TV dramas at their prime time and this shocked the indian entertainment industry - why can't we raise the same standards again?
Abid Mahmud Ansari Dec 19, 2012 06:59pm
Its really disappointing and unfair. Instead of making effort to improve Pakistani drama's quality Pakistani artists are demanding to impose a ban on Turkish TV plays.One would demand that PEMRA should ban Indian sub-standard TV plays and replace them by Turkish, Iranian and Bangladeshi music and TV plays.
Abdullah Dec 19, 2012 09:43pm
I really don't know what kind of stuff that new drama serial possesses and what cultural picture it's portraying. But i'm more concerned about the attitude and reaction which has been shown by our public figures and some prominent personalities. Perhaps, it's been several months the new drama serial is on air. But what about the Indian drama channels which have been working in Pakistan for many years? Why didn't anybody bother to take rigid steps against them? Why nobody thought to raise their voice? I find their dramas more injurious and stigmatic to our culture. They almost deteriorated our society and environment. Our children in no age know things which surely we won't want them to be aware of. That's what we should stand against, and some serious stuff to be aggressive about.
Faraz Dec 19, 2012 07:55am
Well this is good that media people have realized culture but in fact when we watch our own drama's on private TV channels these days we do not find culture and family values there too as it was in past when drama was only on PTV some how we all are they some and every thing is so much commercialised
Khurram Dec 19, 2012 04:03pm
All such cultural sharing should be equal and under some governmental body - I know how bad is the governance at this time, but that's not the question here. Individual groups or channels must not be allowed to show whatever they want for the sake for profit and any other agenda. Pakistani dramas should be dubbed into Turkish, Hindi and other languages and shown in parallel on their prime channels at prime time.
Prakash Dec 19, 2012 10:10pm
As per this report they were against dubbing of foreign tv serial and when Indian TV serial are not dubbed then why oppose the Indian TV channel, only turkish tv serial falls under this category.
Abid Mahmud Ansari Dec 19, 2012 07:13pm
Then why Pakistani artists are buckling under this first test of real competition from Turkish TV. They were silent with Indian stuff, because it gave them no competition and they were not bothered.
Raoul Ciao Dec 19, 2012 12:03pm
If Pakistan started a reality show on (a)Taliban in Society (b) Sect based people getting into a house , together a la Big Boss and fighting it out (instead of the killings on the streets) (c) a reality show on crippling diseases and their impact on ordinary pakistani children and citizens like Polio (a la the Amir Khan Satmev Jayaate), Pak TV guys will win all TRP's and huge ratings, and help improve society. The question is - why don't they become creative and try and do stufff which has both social as well as the "aha" factor of interest impact on TV viewers? Why should EVERYTHING on TV be to promote the culture and language only of Pakistan? and not the real social change needed by this slowly imploding nation?
Anonymous Dec 20, 2012 08:43am
What we need is a proper rating system. Ours is probably a handful of countries that do not have a functional rating system for television programming. An age appropriate rating system is the need of the hour. Once that system is in place, it won't matter what is shown on television.
SAL Dec 19, 2012 03:49pm
Shame on Pakistanis who watch these foreign channels. Traitors are those who air these channels.
Kumar Dec 19, 2012 04:12pm
well said
Vigilant Dec 19, 2012 09:49am
Why we are not banning Indian serials & movies??
RPK Dec 19, 2012 09:53am
Indian chanels do not require dubbing to Urdu. Some Indian chanels require dubbing from Urdu to Hindi!! We watch a lots of Pakistani chanels (like Geo, Ary, Hum and Masala etc.) and really enjoy.