TV channel cost goes up: KP plans to counter Taliban propaganda
By: Ashfaq Yusufzai
PESHAWAR: The government has decided to launch the Pashto language Abaseen TV channel at the end of this year, but it will have to spend almost Rs400 million more for the purpose, officials said.
”The cost of the new channel will go up from Rs160 million estimated in 2006 to Rs550 million now. The finances are being included in the new PC-1,” said officials associated with the project of exclusive Pashto TV channel to be started by the Pakistan Television (PTV).
They said that last year the provincial government wrote a letter to the federal government to start the channel while expressing concerns that militants were able to convey their messages on private satellite channels while the provincial government failed to match the Taliban propaganda in the absence of its own Pashto TV channel.
The provincial government had pledged Rs50 million for the new channel and was hopeful of receiving grants from the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa governor for the purpose.
A meeting between the officials of the PTV Peshawar and information department will take place before Eidul Fitr to hammer out a plan before presentation of the new PC-1 for approval to Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani.
“Given the interest of both federal and the provincial governments it is expected the channel will be on air towards the end of this year,” they said and added that the government was aware of its significance due to challenges posed by Afghan and Pakistan-based Pashto channels. The PTV has top professionals and can get huge finances through sponsorships after launch of the channel, they said.
The officials said that the PTV headquarters, Islamabad, had the hardware, but for acquiring the costly software they would need money. “Within the next few weeks, a meeting under the prime minister is likely to give approval for the channel,” they said, adding that the idea behind the channel was to counter the glorification of the militants on the private satellite channels.
“Yes, we are prepared to start the channel with our existing 500 staffers, including 18 producers, and high-tech equipments,” said Hifzul Haq Kakakhel, GM PTV Peshawar. He said that the PTV headquarters had also agreed to recruit 182 new workers exclusively for the channel.
He said that they had planned to start the channel on terrestrial antenna for wider viewership for which they would need about 24 transmitters, costing around Rs25 million.
Mr Kakakhel said that the channel would not need running cost and would go on air permanently. The PTV Peshawar Centre has already prepared new programmes for initial four months for the channel already approved by the Ministry of Broadcasting and Media Development, he said.