SHC orders Cinemas to allocate 85% screen time for local films
The Sindh High Court [SHC] has ordered cinema owners across the country to allocate 85 per cent screening time for local films under the law, with foreign films receiving 15 percent of the exhibition space.
The Sindh High Court, in a brief order dated May 19, at the request of film producers Adnan Siddiqui, Akhtar Hussain, Shazia Wajahat, Rauf Wajahat, Nida Yair and Yasir Nawaz, said that cinema owners are bound to give more priority to local films under Motion Pictures Ordinance 1979.
According to the court order, the cinemas administration are required to allocate 85% of the screens for local films and only 15% for foreign films.
The following entities are named as defendants in the suits: the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, the Central Board of Film Censors, the Punjab Film Censor Board, the Sindh Film Censor Board, the Competition Commission of Pakistan, J.B. Films, Nueplex Cinemas, Cinepax Cinemas, Cinegold Cinemas, HKC Entertainment, and the Karachi District South deputy commissioner.
The court directed all the respondents to make arrangements for allocating 85% screens for local films in cinemas till the next hearing of the case till June 2.
Prior to the Sindh High Court’s decision, local film producers and directors had alleged that cinema owners were preferring foreign films to locals and that Pakistani films were being screen less.
After almost two years in Pakistan, this time 4 Urdu and one Punjabi films were released on Eid-ul-Fitr and just a few days after the Eid, the filmmakers claimed that the cinema owners were screening less local films.
Local filmmakers held an emergency press conference in which Badr Ikram of Hum TV Network quoted the Motion Pictures Act 1979 as saying that under this law no cinema can show more than 15% foreign films.
Cinema owners claim that audiences prefer foreign films to local ones, which is why they are forced to show foreign films.