PTV resists advertisement denying bird flu threat
ISLAMABAD, May 08 2006: For several days, state-owned TV channel Pakistan Television (PTV) did not telecast any advertisement showing Agriculture Minister Sikandar Bosan eating chicken to end the fear of bird-flu among the general public. Official sources told Daily Times that PTV approached the ministry of health asking whether to telecast the advertisement on the sensitive issue or not.
Arshad Khan, the managing director of PTV, said, “I have been informed that the health ministry has issued the NOC (non objection certificate) for that advertisement. Now the advertisement will be telecast,” The advertisement, prepared and sponsored by the Pakistan Poultry Association, was aimed at encouraging people to eat chicken and eggs as they used to do before the bird-flu out. Some private television channels did telecast the advertisement, but senior PTV officials did not approve the advertisement without the approval of health ministry.
When bird-flu was last reported in Pakistan in 2004, the then former Prime Minister Zafarullah Khan Jamali and his cabinet members had eaten chicken to defuse the public fear. However, Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz and his cabinet took no such steps. The government created more panic about the bird-flu among the general public by banning chicken meals from the officials receptions, hosted for the foreign dignitaries. Several viewers of the advertisement have expressed their reservations on the appearance of Pakistan’s federal minister in the advertisements.
According to them, the government should have run a proper awareness campaign for the general public to understand the disease and adopt precautionary measures. Currently, this flu was identified in two poultry farms in NWFP. Later, it was detected in several farms situated in the vicinities the federal capital Islamabad. The food and livestock department has slaughtered thousands of infected chicken. The National Institute of Health (NIH) took blood samples of over 100 poultry workers and other people to ensure their proper health.
Source: Daily Times