The Sindh Board of Film Censors (SBFC) that remained at the forefront due to films like Durj and Zindagi Tamasha in 2019 is facing delays in payments due to its members. It comes under the Ministry of Culture, Government of Sindh and was formed in 2012.
SBFC rates films on a scale of U (Universal, approved for general audiences), PG (Parental Guidance), PG-13 (‘Parents Cautioned’), PG-15 (Suitable for 15 years and older) and 18+ (For Adults only).
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The screening and censorship of films has long become a
provincial subject after the passage of the 18th Amendment. The censor board, in each respective
province, previews films and decides what the public should or should not
watch. It comprises of a number of members.
However, the members have, according to sources, not received any compensation in the last eight years. Interestingly, even the Chairman and Vice-Chairman did not receive a pay package or facilities for their services! No dues have been paid to the former three heads of the board which includes Zulfiqar Ramzi, the first appointed Chairman and also includes the name of National award winning film actor and singer, Fakhr-e-Alam.
It is interesting to note that before the enactment of the 18th amendment, no such problem was present and despite constant reminders, the dues have still not been streamlined for payment to the members of the board.
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In contrast, the Punjab Board of Film Censors (PBFC) and
Central Board of Film Censors (CBFC) have witnessed no such complaints.
Another lacuna visible in the provincial board is the lack of an overseeing authority. According to reports, Secretary to the board unofficially remained in office, two years after his tenure ended. To further complicate the matter, an officer who did not fit the appointment criteria was appointed as a replacement solely due to his personal links with a well-placed officer in the government.
It might be noted that this problem of pending payments and administrative hindrances are already present in the entertainment and journalism industry, with leading television channels not paying their staff on time.
However, the government must streamline the dues and implement better administrative controls to restore its credibility.
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