March 30, 2019
Media networks have recently had a policy shift towards educating the masses aptly packaged with entertainment. People have hardly known how the drug cartel worked and later uprooted before tuning in to one of their favourite seasons on Netflix. In the same way, corporate giants are effectively using all possible mediums in establishing a brand image and awareness about a certain technological feat. Apple has grown due to highly effective marketing mix and stands out as a niche product. The same applies to any government’s plans and propagation of policies in order to attain mass support. People in United Kingdom still consider the 48% to 52% result of the first Brexit referendum due to most of them not actually knowing the real implications that have subsequently brought United Kingdom to the brink of a political turmoil. It was government’s duty to inform and build a public understanding of the matter before venturing upon a legally binding referendum result.
One of prime objectives of Information Department is to publicize and propagate the policies and future plans of Government through its film section - in shape of short films, documentaries and feature films. The significance of film making is pretty much relevant in the modern age of social media, smart phones and web traffic. The first world has already employed these tools effectively and during dipolar state regime, USA succeeded in conquering the cold war against USSR through its highly effective propaganda machine via film medium creating a powerful counter narrative that was adequately propagated.
India with a Bollywood powerhouse has strategized the industry in the same manner. Many national issues such as health, Education system, Kashmir and terrorism and even small skirmishes against Pakistan are portrayed globally suiting their national interests. Major banks and other financial institutions as a government policy fund the production houses to that effect. They have been very successful in floating their national strategy and plan regarding their major issues through their films. When they needed to bring reforms in their educational system, they came up with a film ‘Three Idiots’ and for health reforms, the central idea had to do with ‘Munna Bhai MBBS’. Similarly, when they realized that their youth and new generation is straying from their national heroes like Gandhi, they made a commercial film in which Gandhi himself appeared as a character describing his philosophy of life and non-violent struggle in such an interesting way that the film ended up as a massive success and popular among the target audiences bringing billions of local and foreign revenue to the country. Very recently, a dying culture of wrestling was projected through a film ‘Dangal’ and it not only revived the wrestling game in the country but brought billions of dividends home.
Unfortunately, Pakistan and specifically Balochistan is left faraway in adopting this very creative tool (film) to cope up with the real issues. Resultantly, the youth is carried away with strong Indian propaganda through Bollywood. Our emerging youth, most of them, don’t really know that names of our national heroes but are well aware of Indian celebrities, their ongoing affairs and even dates and venues of their to-be marriages.
ISPR has been trying hard in recent times to counter Indian propaganda influx but they have also not used this commercial film technology in coping up with the genuine matters. Nowadays, it is rather difficult to attract the masses and youth over lectures, debates and visual preaching. They can only be engaged by a subject of their common interest and Government can deliver its motive - policy of reforms in a very mild and sugar coated manner to masses and youth in particular in order to convey and get the message penetrated in their hearts and minds convincing them of an informed exposure.
The Information Department, Government of Balochistan is already running a film section under DGPR office but due to non-technical and less qualified staff, routine approach and zero funding have left it dormant since ages. The present incumbent Information Department intends to reactivate this section and aims to convert it into a fully equipped film department with the help of outsourced national and international film makers by inviting them to Balochistan for national and international films based on Balochistan issues and promoting culture and tourism in Balochistan naturally in the process while showcasing Balochistan to the world through films.
The shift in priorities will not only enhance image of the region in terms of its beautiful landmass, cultures and stories but will also inform the world about the issues of Balochistan creating a critical environment of positive public opinion. The notion of togetherness and sense of ownership can be brought while contributing to the government’s exchequer to compensate the costs involved. However, the costs of losing this opportunity, may never by recompensed.
There is a dire need to establish a film fund for Balochistan that could help new creative ideas flourish and new film makers from Balochistan encouraged to capitalise on them. This will engage youth and artists from Balochistan channelling their latent talents to noticeable expression and Balochistan may wriggle out of the perceived identity crises for the international world. This has to be a landmark step from government of Balochistan setting trends for other provinces.