Information ministry rejects comments of the Council of Pakistan Newspapers Editors
ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting here on Saturday rejected the comments of the Council of Pakistan Newspapers Editors (CPNE) regarding centralized advertisement policy.
The spokesman of the ministry said that Press Information Department (PID) has not reformulated the advertisement policy but has just reiterated contents of the existing policy and urged the federal government ministries/divisions/public sector organizations for its implementation in letter and spirit. The CPNE itself has been demanding this step in order to curb the tendency of some clients releasing advertisements directly to the media in contravention of the advertisement policy, said a press release issued here.
The spokesman said the government does not believe in arm-twisting of the media. The past four years’ track record of the government vindicates this assertion. It has never used advertisement to curb and control the press as alleged by the CPNE, the spokesman said. It is unfortunate to note that the CPNE is trying to force the government to withdraw its advertisement policy, which has been endorsed by successive governments since decades, he added. To term it as dictatorial is highly objectionable as all the major media houses have assumed the status of media tycoons under this advertisement policy.
Though, since decades the government has not only ratified the said policy, rather the provinces are following the centralized advertising policy and advertisements are being distributed through the provincial information departments.
The spokesman added that the promulgation of the said policy already being exercised by provincial governments was never objected. However, when the federal government stressed for the implementation of centralized policy already ratified, the CPNE showed its fragile reservations, which can be considered as a dual standard.
It was further mentioned that the CPNE is well aware of the fact that as a result of NFC Award and 18th Constitutional Amendment, fiscal resources of the provinces had been enhanced. Resultantly, the volume of advertisements being released by provincial governments increased considerably, whereas it has been decreased in respect of federal government due to transfer of various federal ministries and their allied departments to the provinces.
However, the spokesman said, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting is open to hold a dialogue with CPNE and other stakeholders to improve the mechanism for release of public sector advertisements.
The spokesman expressed the hope that instead of urging the government to abdicate its legitimate right of releasing advertisements as per policy, the CPNE would ensure implementation of Wage Board Award, issuance of proper appointment letters and timely payment of salaries to the working journalists and media employees.