Minister assures CPNE of early payment of dues
Punjab Information Minister Sumsam Bukhari has assured that outstanding dues of newspapers would soon be paid and that newspaper publications would be provided with the Punjab government’s advertisements on equitable basis.
“Punjab chief minister will also hold a meeting with officials of the Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE) soon,” Bukhari said on Wednesday during a meeting with a CPNE delegation in Lahore.
The delegation comprised the CPNE President Arif Nizami, former president Zia Shahid, vice president and Punjab committee chairman Ayaz Khan, Ejazul Haq, Rehmat Ali Zari, Irshad Ahmed Arif, Kazim Khan, Zulfiqar Ahmed Rahat, Ashraf Sohail, Tanvir Shaukat, Malik Liaquat Ali, Sardar Abid Aleem, Zubair Mehmood, Bashir Ahmed Khan, Waqas Tariq Farooq, Taufeequr Rehman Saifi, Usman Ghani and Mian Akbar Ali as well as editors of various newspapers in Punjab.
Arif Nizami thanked Bukhari for hearing the CPNE’s views and briefed him on the situation of journalism, freedom of speech and expression and problems encountered by the newspaper organisations.
He said the strategy to cut down on government newspaper advertisement has failed. “The government should ensure just distribution of ads and timely payments of its dues to the newspapers so that the situation of newspapers may improve,” he said.
Zia Shahid said some newspapers were being given undue benefits in the form of government ads. He expressed hope that the new team including secretary and director general public relations will improve operation of their department.
Ejazul Haq requested that the ministry provide details of the outstanding dues so that CPNE could know how much the government owes to each CPNE member. He observed that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) claimed transparency but distribution of ads among newspapers does not reflect transparency.
He said the provincial authorities should also upload details of ads given to different newspapers on its website in the same way as the federal government.
Rehmat Ali Razi expressed concern about allocation of more ads to newspapers ‘spreading malicious propaganda and yellow journalism’. He said the Punjab government must equally distribute the funds allocated for media organisations.
Sumsam Bukhari assured the CPNE members that government would soon release payments to newspapers. “However, payment stopped in view of some conflict will be made after consultation with a committee to be formed by the CPNE,” he said.
He said his ministry could not operate properly without support of the newspapers. “We support fair and transparent distribution of government ads,” he said, adding that he would put forth the demand for increase in advertisements before the chief minister and the federal government.