KARACHI – There was a time when our music industry was on top but now it is stuck in the middle of nowhere as local broadcasters have displayed a intense desire to play foreign content on their channels.
With this step taken by the local broadcasters, local musicians left behind with no medium to promote their music. Several local musicians have been complaining about the lack of coverage being given to local artists on private channels.
Two separate NGOs of Pakistan, All Music Performers Pakistan Society (Ampps) and Collective Organisation for Music Rights of Pakistan (Comp) raised this issue with the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) and according to a notice issued by the regulatory body, the two NGOs have been called for a meeting on Friday.
According to the NGOs, local broadcasters were in violation of the Pemra law which states that all licensed broadcasters in the country can only run up to 10 percent foreign content.
Chief Executive of Comp, Umer Sheikh explained that it had become imperative for them to act now before the situation deteriorated any further. “Channel and radio executives have now openly started saying that they won’t play local content as Indian songs are more in demand.”
Musician Haroon said, “Ali Azmat, Arieb Azhar, myself and Umer Sheikh had discussed this issue at the Music Mela a few months back and decided to take it up with Pemra. Many fans come up to me and other famous musicians like Faakhir, Abrar ul Haq and Jawwad Ahmed asking us why we don’t sing or produce music anymore. The fact is that we do, but it’s not seen on channels.”
Haroon further added that it is widely believed that Pemra has been late in acknowledging the matter, but it is in fact for the first time that any formal organisation has approached the regulatory authority regarding this issue.
Zulfiqar Jabbar Khan, popularly known as Xulfi and was behind Nescafe Basement Show, considers the development as a “landmark in the Pakistani music industry’s timeline” and “amazing news that will ensure that audiences are exposed to quintessential Pakistani music.”
First meeting is not expected to yield a verdict, with representatives from only Ampps and Comp being summoned by the Council of Complaint, musicians are optimistic that they would have a much clearer picture afterwards.