A discussion meeting titled ‘Implementation of Tobacco Control Laws in Films’ was held on 28th January 2021 Thursday with the joint initiative of the Department of Film and Publication, Bangladesh Film Censor Board, Bangladesh Anti-Tobacco Alliance and WBB Trust.
Md. Jasim Uddin (Vice Chairman, Bangladesh Film Censor Board), Saifuddin Ahmed (Coordinator, Bangladesh Anti-Tobacco Alliance) and other dignitaries addressed their remarks at the meeting presided by SM Golam Kibria (DG, Department of Film and Publications). Adv. Syed Mahbubul Alam (Technical Advisor, The Union) presented the keynote address at the meeting. Ali Sarkar (Director, Administration, and Publication, Department of Film and Publication), Md. Mominul Haque Jibon (Secretary, Bangladesh Film Censor Board), Nasir Uddin Sheikh (Country Manager, Vital Strategies-Bangladesh), Helal Ahmed (General Secretary, Pratasha Anti-Drug Organization), Film Director SA Haque Alik, Hamidul Islam Hillol (Tobacco Control Project Manager, BER, DU), Lailun Nahar (Tobacco Control Project Officer, National Heart Foundation), Farhana Zaman Liza (Program Manager, TCRC) and other personalities addressed their remarks at the meeting. Adv. Syed Mahbubul Alam (Technical Advisor, The Union) presented the keynote address at the meeting conducted by Syeda Ananya Rahman (Project Manager, WBB Trust.).
SM Golam Kibria said, internationally tobacco control activity has come a long way. Our producers will be more careful in the future about the use of tobacco in filmmaking because film is one of the most powerful mass media. We want movies to be a strong medium in tobacco control. He added that they would take steps to curb the use of smoking in the film in order to control overall tobacco in Bangladesh.
Safi Uddin Safi said it is important to implement the tobacco control law not only in movies but also in dramas, web series and other mediums. The story often requires smoking scenes in movies. In this case, it is our responsibility to follow the law.
Mohammad Ali Sarkar said that the censor board looked at the copies of the movies and approved them accordingly. Many times some posters are made without approval where there are various kinds of problems. However, action is taken as soon as such allegations are received. We have also succeeded in creating awareness against tobacco. It is important to work together with young filmmakers to build a tobacco-free Bangladesh.
Jasim Uddin said that reducing the use of tobacco in the film would help in overall tobacco control. In this case, the combined efforts of filmmakers, artists, producers and directors are essential. If the government's tobacco control efforts are to succeed, everyone must show solidarity with these efforts. The censor board will work more vigorously in this regard in near future.
Helal Ahmed said, without using the scenes of tobacco products, many successful movies have been made in our country. So, the filmmakers have to get out of the misconception that movies would not be successful without smoking scenes. In this case, we have to develop our own creativity to solve the problem. Everyone, including the Department of Film and Publications and the Censor Board needs to come forward to build a tobacco-free Bangladesh.
Adv. Syed Mahbubul Alam said it is important to ensure that the next generation is not addicted to tobacco products in any way through the film. The smoking scenes of heroes and heroines in drama and movies affect the youth. A study of 50 movies has shown that the use of smoking scenes in movies is increasing at an alarming rate. Many times, under the direct and indirect incitements of the tobacco company, the film shows scenes of excessive smoking without any need. Even brand names are being shown in some cases. If the film shows a smoking scene, it must comply with the Tobacco Control Act.
Saifuddin Ahmed said that in order to actualize the dream of the Prime Minister, it is necessary to work on tobacco control. We hope that the Bangladesh Film and Publication Department will play an important role in building a tobacco free Bangladesh with the cooperation of producers, directors and artists.
The meeting was attended by representatives of the Director Guild, representatives of the Department of Health and film directors who expressed their views. Moreover, the representatives of Ahsania Mission, Grambangla Unnoyon Committee, DAS, Media persons, Film related artists were also presented at the meeting.