A pivotal piece of the puzzle that was long amiss, curbing the growth of the entertainment industry of Pakistan, was the resolute support of the government. With Pakistan completing its 76th year of independence, the missing piece has been put in its place.
Ahead of Independence Day celebrations, artists in the entertainment sector in Pakistan rejoiced over the acknowledgement of the film sector as a formal industry by the government. This was announced in the National Icon Award 2023 ceremony which was held on 12th August in Lahore.
The ceremony was graced by the presence of Marriyum Aurangzeb, the Federal Minister of Information & Broadcasting, who took the initiative of bringing a positive change in the organizational structure of the entertainment industry. In presence was also Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif to acknowledge the efforts. In addition, many notable personalities of the film and drama industry were also in attendance. The event was hosted by Juggun Kazim and Sami Khan.
Policy changes implemented by the government:
Following the pivotal moment where filmmaking was formally recognized as an industry, Marriyum Aurangzeb took the stage and announced the new policies that will be implemented to aid the growth of entertainment industry as well as the initiatives taken by the government.
Firstly, with the collaborative effort of Sultana Siddiqui and HUM TV, the government of Pakistan has released a book that encapsulates the history of Pakistani cinema.
Following that it was announced that the fee structure of PTV workers was revised, and the actors would be paid according to the market pay rate.
Moreover, the launch of Ptvflix and National Radio Pakistan Awaz Khazana was also announced. This thoughtful initiative aims to digitally store all the work and collaboration of different artists for radio, television, as well as cinema.
A video shared by Marriyum Aurangzeb on Twitter, gives an insight into efforts put in by the Ministry of Information and broadcasting to promote the growth of entertainment sector:
Building of a virtual studio
PTV academy and new studios renovated for schools, colleges, and universities for arts broadcasting
Upgradation of equipment, cameras, and studios
Fee structure revised after 27 years
Largest artificial intelligence based digital live monitoring and archiving of print electronic, digital, and foreign media.
Artificial intelligence-based sentiment analysis unit for effective execution of government narrative.
PEMRA Amendment bill 2023:
Defining the principle of self-regulation by including definition of misinformation and disinformation and amendment to secure their salaries and minimum wage by law under severe violation.
5.5 billion DRM project reaching out to 52 countries
12 new state of art studios
Besides this the following information were approved;
Recovery of Rs. 14 crores under implementation tribunal newspaper employees to clear their salaries.
Film policy-film production:
Film making and lab import
All tax-free TI to facilitate film making
PM film finance fund of Rs. 2 billion
Film artists health fund of Rs. 1 billion
Film industry considered as social corporate responsibility which means if corporate sector makes films, the investment will be given tax rebate
Production withholding tax zero
New building of SRBC: operational with 150 rooms and virtual studios
Information service academy: complete revision of the module and affiliations with leading university
NASFF (National Amateur Short Film Festival) initiative to empower next generation of film makers by giving fully funded 1 year scholarship to New York Film Academy.
Pakistan’s first music policy which aims to reserve the rich musical heritage of Pakistan. The details were shared by Marriyum Aurangzeb.
Distribution of 5 health cards as part of health insurance policy:
In a remarkable stride towards enriching the lives of artists and acknowledging their work, the government took the incentive of extending health insurance to the entertainment industry and distributed five health cards to five senior and esteemed artists including:
Saleem Haider: Music director
Shama Mumtaz: Actress
Bushra Sadiq: Singer
Asad Abbas: folk classical singer
Ustad Jaffar Hussain: Musician
Recipients of Icon Awards 2023:
To acknowledge the multitude of esteemed actors and other notable personalities from our entertainment industry, spanning both veteran figures and present-day performers, Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif himself conferred the Icon Awards 2023. These awards were presented to recognize the hard work, noteworthy achievements, and their role in enhancing the industry.
The winners included:
Khalid Abbas Dar
The way forward:
In culmination, the recognition extended to illustrious actors, coupled with the implementation of forward-thinking policies, serves as a catalyst for transformation in the entertainment industry. This synergy not only honors the contributions of these celebrated figures but also builds a bridge between the public sector and the entertainment industry.
Beyond its symbolic significance, this acknowledgement empowers artists, affording them a more influential role in shaping the trajectory of their field. Moreover, the commitment to amplifying artists’ rights and voice through powerful legislative amendments instills a newfound confidence within the industry. Investors, recognizing this protective framework, are poised to infuse resources with a sense of assurance, fostering an environment ripe for innovation, growth, and a positive portrayal of the nation’s image.