It is extremely important for SAARC nations to come together to tell their distinct, fascinating stories through the media and entertainment industry, said a panel of ministers from the region and Indian filmmakers Tuesday.
The panellists were speaking at a session titled "The SAARC Ministers' Panel - Forging Enduring Ties" at the first day of the 14th edition of FICCI FRAMES 2013, the annual convention of the Media and Entertainment (M&E) industry here organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry.
"Talent in every SAARC nation is lying in abundance. It is a region that has 1.5 million people. However, we need to let the bureaucracy and policy matters of these nations not hamper the talent flow," said filmmaker Mukesh Bhatt.
In a friendly gesture, Bhatt also said that since Indian media industry is like a big brother for the other SAARC nations, it is their responsibility to support them with relevant infrastructure.
Nepal's Information and Communication Minister Raj Kishore Yadav agreed with Bhatt.
"I am convinced that we need to sing a common song. We are ready to cooperate and facilitate a better industry. We will make all efforts to make it easier for SAARC nations," he said.
Stating that cinema is a language in its own virtue, Sri Lanka's Mass Media and Information Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said that his country is looking at possibilities to bring in more investors for the industry.
"Now that security concerns are under control, we will look into inviting more investors to the country by creating a conducive environment," he said.
However, filmmaker Ravi Kottarkara said that there is still a huge divide that between all SAARC nations that are challenging.
"Production treaties, joint ventures, single window clearances and visa clearances are still major challenges to facilitate cinema beyond boundaries," he said.
Afghanistan's Deputy Minister for Information and Culture Din Mohammad Mobariz Rashidi said that his country has made sizable progress in the last ten years.
"Today we have 175 radio stations, 100 TV stations and have produced more than 500 films. However, we do seek support in the TV broadcast medium with more entertainment and education related programmes," he said.
SAARC Chambers of Commerce and Industry president Vikramjit Singh Sahney said that in spite of common cultures and values of the south Asian nations, there is still a lot to be done to create a conducive environment.