Pakistan is all set to launch its own version of Netflix. It was announced by Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry that his ministry is all set to launch Pakistan’s first OTT (over-the-top) platform like Netflix.
Chaudhry says that the aim is to put Pakistani content on the map and PEMRA has been asked to prepare guidelines keeping in mind the international market. He maintained that with internet freedom, censorship is unlikely. But in a country where PEMRA has started giving guidelines to products on how to make their television advertisements, where dramas are banned due to ‘indecency’, where video-sharing platforms are banned for spreading immortality, it would be interesting to see if international standards will be maintained without any trouble.
Pakistan cannot get ahead in technology unless and until we get on with the times and stop censoring content.
On the one hand, we are fighting censorship in the entertainment side and on the other, our mainstream news media is also facing a tough time. Geo News’ reporter Ali Imran Syed went missing for 22 hours on Friday. Mr Imran Syed was the one who had reported on the arrest of PML-N leader Captain (retd) Safdar from a Karachi hotel and whose CCTV footage was broadcast by Geo.
Thankfully, the missing reporter returned safely the next day. Information Minister Shibli Faraz prayed for his safe return. According to journalist Mubashir Zaidi’s tweet, Ali Imran “was picked up by mistake regarding investigations of the murder of Maulana Adil. He was picked up for being a lookalike of one of the assassins. What’s surprising is that it took 22 hours to realize that he wasn’t the person they’re looking for.”
Journalists going missing is not something unheard of in Pakistan. One considers it a miracle when missing journalists come back safely. In any civilised country, a journalist cannot be picked up like this. In Pakistan, we breathe a sigh of relief when journalists return alive. Media freedom is guaranteed under our Constitution but it is something that still alludes us.
Censorship, be it in the media, entertainment industry, or any other sector, is detrimental to a nation’s growth. We hope that when the Pakistani version of Netflix is launched, the content that we see online will be creative and thought-provoking.