United Producers Association (UPA) Chairman Rashid Khawaja addressing a press conference at Karachi Press Club on Monday stated, "Pakistan Electric Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) must take immediate action to regularise the influx of foreign and dubbed content on national private TV channels as it is directly affecting the local TV production industry with a fear of it to be extinct if not protected by the government on priority basis."
He said that all Pakistani major entertainment channels were gradually increasing the ratio of foreign and Urdu dubbed content during prime time slots leading towards collapse of local self-developed and flourishing drama industry.
Khawaja said that the government should provide protection to its own local drama industry as happens in the rest of the countries worldwide. He claimed that the growth of local entertainment TV channels owe their progress to the local TV production industry.
Khawaja said that drama producers and artiste believed that the local entertainment content might not be preferred by the channels anymore due to their rising interest in foreign content including Indian, Turkish and Spanish in sheer violation of PEMRA rules.
"The trend has seriously threatened the very existence of already very nascent Pakistani entertainment industry providing jobs to 18,000 directly including actors, writers, directors, cameramen, set designers, editors, sound engineers, lighting staff, beauticians and dress designers; and over 100,000 indirectly," he said.
There would be imminent loss of millions of rupees investment as production houses were likely to be shut down gradually with the rise of foreign or Urdu dubbed content on channels, UPA chief said.
Asif Raza Mir, Secretary General UPA, urged that PEMRA's code of ethics should strictly be enforced and the authority should also revisit its rules about landing rights.
Speaking on the occasion, the seasoned actor, Humayun Saeed, said that PEMRA should include UPA as a permanent stakeholder during formulation of any policy directly and indirectly affecting the local TV production industry.
He demanded of PEMRA to abolish its law permitting 10% foreign content on private channels as local industry had the enough capacity to cater to the requirements of channels through its quality content.
The ace artiste Abid Ali vowed that local drama industry was highly competent to compete with foreign drama industry provided it should be given a level playing field. Mir demanded the Federal Government to introduce fresh duty regime for all the TV content being imported in to Pakistan. Later, a large number of actors, actresses and industries prominent personalities also held a peaceful protest demonstration and walk to Governor House.