TV channel licenses to be awarded
ISLAMABAD – The Minister for information and broadcasting, Sheikh Rashid on June 4 said that the government has decided to award licenses of television channels to nine newspapers.
While responding to a question, he said that at the same time PTV news network was being expanded at the district level to make its news bulletins all-encompassing and to enable it compete with the private channels.
The Minister said PTV was planning to increase its news coverage time and will shortly initiate a district specific news bulletin of 10 minutes’ duration.
He informed the National Assembly that PTV News was in the process of establishing a Network of reporters and cameramen in all the districts of Pakistan to make the news bulletins more comprehensive. “We will set up re-broadcasting stations at the district level and will compete with the private channels,” he added.
Responding to a supplementary question, Rashid said this policy would create around 150,000 job opportunities and will encourage a competitive environment in the electronic media.
He said the government has awarded a total of 88 FM radio channels in the private sector. To a question, he said, being an official channel and covering 85 percent of the country’s population, PTV has certain responsibilities and it cannot air any unconfirmed report.
About the coverage of the Parliament’s proceedings by the private channels other than PTV, the Minister said that it was a set-pattern and added the government channel has the responsibility with regard to the coverage of Parliament’s proceedings. He said the Question-Hour proceedings were being telecast on PTV without any editing.
The Minister said that instead of Short-wave radios, the government was bringing 28 cost-effective FM channels in areas of Swat, which are more powerful and have wider coverage. On the up-gradation of Radio Pakistan Chitral from 0.25 kW to 10 kW, the Minister said that the scheme was included in the 8th Five Year Plan (1993-98) but could not be implemented due to non provision of funds by the government.
However, he said, PBC has now planned to install Solid State 5 kW FM Transmitters based on modern technology in place of Medium-wave transmitter in Chitral. He said these channels were not only cost-effective but also have an extended coverage of 150 kilometres. Tenders have already been invited from eleven Chinese firms, he added.
To a question, Sheikh Rashid said the government would have no objection to an exclusive channel for women in the private sector.
Source: Business Recorder