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Growing media and entertainment sectors

Studies revealed that Pakistan’s television has grown tremendously as compared to the previous years. The proliferation of satellite channels and cable TV networks has made it possible for a large number of Pakistanis to have access to information in the entire world which had hitherto remained inaccessible. It is also predicted that the number of TV channels is estimated to increase more in the upcoming eras as various channels are waiting in the wings to enter this thriving field.

In Pakistan, economic survey of Pakistan (FY2018-19) mentioned that Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) is now in its 17th years and during these years, the country has witnessed unprecedented growth in the number of TV channels and FM Radio stations as well as distribution networks i.e. cable TV, IPTV and MMDS in the private sector in the South Asian region. The private electronic media has come a long way since 2002 when Pakistan was only dominated by the state-run Pakistan Television and Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation.

Licensing During July 2018– March 2019
CategoryNumber of licenses
i. Landing Rights Permission to TV Channels06
ii. FM Radio Licenses14
iii. Cable TV Licenses609
a). New Licenses193
b). Renew416
iv). Internet Protocol TV (IPT) Distribution Service Licenses02
v). Mobile TV (Video & Audio Content Provision) Service Licensing01

Now with almost 88 Pakistani electronic media channels and more than 37 channels with landing rights permission in Pakistan, the role of PEMRA has never been more important. This boom is owed to the government’s unequivocal commitment to a free media and the proactive role played by PEMRA in facilitating the growth of the electronic media. The growth of TV channels, cable TV and launch of FM Radio stations has indeed contributed remarkably in raising the standards of public awareness and literacy, locally and portraying progressive image of Pakistan, globally.

Experts also recorded that introducing the sophisticated branch of the electronic media in Pakistan, the broad perspective kept in mind was to inform and educate the people by wholesome entertainment and to inculcate in them a greater awareness of their own history, heritage, current issues and development also knowledge of the world at large. Newspapers or print media still has strong influence over the common man.

Unluckily statistics also showed that the country remains one of the most dangerous countries globally for journalists, who face threats and intimidation daily from various sources. Reporters without Borders’ 2014 World Press Freedom Index ranks Pakistan 158 out of 180, calling it the world’s deadliest country for media personnel. This reflects severe restrictions on media freedom in Pakistan counting widespread self-censorship among local outlets, mainly regarding coverage of the government’s security or intelligence services, or the powerful non-government militias. Journalists are particularly limited in their coverage of events in FATA or KPK, as access is restricted through the security services and any reporting is subject to censorship.

 

Studies also identified that the Pakistan’s media is undoubtedly one of the most effective agents of change, be it political, social, environmental, or any other. The media in the last two decades has undergone huge technological development. No Pakistani children have a wide choice among the national and international television news and entertainment channels, radio stations, newspapers, magazines, video films and computer games, and worldwide information and entertainment on the Internet. Basically, both print and electronic media and the internet are playing a proactive role in empowering citizens by awareness‐raising and advocacy, and by lobbying on issues of human rights, environment, hygiene and sanitation, etc., to assist enhance the condition of people and in the redress of their challenges.

Various organizations are using social networking to raise their role in policy debates and get their message across to key audiences, and connect with supporters. YouTube, Facebook, blogging, Twitter, etc., are a few of the popular means of communication and new ones are being added at a rapid pace. On the other hand, print media in Pakistan is considered more worthy and credible source of information as compared to TV which until recently had been in tight government control. If we compare it previously, there has hardly been an arrival of a significant publication in this industry, however, its significance remains the same.

Despite the fact that Pakistan has a low literacy rate as against to other countries, the advertising spend in the print media remains at par with international standards. This shows the significance advertisers accord to the print media and how it assists in selling new ideas and creating awareness and hence generating demand for the products.

Statistics also showed that with over 173 registered publications nationally it is growing constantly and becoming more specialized in the kind of news it offers.

As far as the film industry is concerned, cinema has traditionally on Pakistan, existed as a much undervalued medium. During the 1950’s and 1960’s it was considered as a source of entertainment by middle-class and low-income households. The charm of viewing firms shot on 35mm, on a large screen with stereo sound is however quite unique. Perhaps that is why, cinema is staging a comeback, albeit in a very limited manner in the metros. The country is home to several film studios centers, mainly placed in its 2-two largest cities – Karachi and Lahore. Pakistani cinema has played a significant role in Pakistani culture, and in present years has started flourishing again after years of fall, delivering entertainment to audiences in the country and expatriates abroad.

Statistics showed that since over 10,000 Urdu feature-films have been produced in the country also over 8,000 Punjabi, 6,000 Pashto and 2,000 Sindhi feature-length films. Furthermore, since 2011 from the digital scene two films have stood out with box office success as highest grossing Pakistani films. Nonetheless, the lack of box office returns of a Pakistani film has less to do with the film itself but more to do with the severely limited number of screens in the country.

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