KARACHI -   Minister of State for Information Broadcasting and National Heritage Marriyum Aurangzeb on Saturday said that the film production and broadcasting industry played a vital role in highlighting, and in many cases, determining the culture and values of a society.

While speaking as chief guest at an entertainment and production conference `Focus 16', organised by the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI), she said that media has the power to challenge social taboos, give voice to the weak and disenfranchised, and bring people together. "It is, therefore, incumbent upon us to invest not only resources to develop the infrastructure but also time to develop ideas and concepts that can help our society to progress and think."

The minister said there was a need to revive the regional and local theatre and films across the country as it helped raise voice for the deprived segments of the society and discuss various issues. She said the federal government has realised the national responsibility towards creating an enabling environment for provincial, regional and local industry development in the country.

She said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was keen to revitalise film, broadcasting, production industry and would share his vision of revival at the meeting of Council of Common Interests, where all the provinces could formulate a joint strategy for the purpose. She said that a national artists convention would be organised in Islamabad, where the prime minister would announce a national art fund through which assistance would be extended to the needy artists, besides it would also be utilised for hunting new talent.

She said in accordance with the 18th Constitutional Amendment, censorship policy's rights were also devolved to the provinces. She said the film production was not the job of the government, however, it could extend assistance to those who produced films. The minister said that she had come here not only here for the inaugural session of the two-day conference but would also attend its sessions on both the days.

Speaking on the occasion, prominent artist and organizer of the conference, Atiqa Odho appreciated the FPCCI for holding `Focus 16' and said that it was the first moot of its kind, which would help project the soft image of Pakistan at international level.

Prominent businessman and FPCCI office bearer Khalid Tawwab said the business and entertainment went hand in hand and that was the reason the FPCCI had organised the very conference. He further pointed out that the conference would be organised every year.