‘New media licenses to inject $3bn investment’
ISLAMABAD: Growth of Pakistan’s media industry has multiplied rapidly over the past decade, with a cumulative investment worth approximately $4-5 billion, and the sector providing employment to over 300,000 people.
New licenses issued by the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) would inject investment of approximately $2-3 billion, according to the Economic Survey 2019-2020 released earlier on Thursday.
The PEMRA’s responsibilities include facilitating and regulating the establishment and operation of all types of broadcast media and distribution services in Pakistan set up for the purpose of international, provincial, district, and local area community-based or special target audiences.
It also facilitates the devolution of responsibility and power to the grassroots level by improving the access of the people to mass media at the local and community level. It further ensures accountability, transparency, and good governance by optimisation of the free flow of information.
The PEMRA has issued 254 and 4,062 licenses, respectively, for FM Radio and Cable TV so far; the numbers, as of March 2019, were 240 and 4,007.
Besides collecting advance tax from licensees at the time of issuance of licenses and their renewal, the body has deposited a total of Rs1.05 billion in the Federal Consolidated Fund (FCF).
The government of Pakistan had allocated Rs200 billion for a project called “Modernization of Camera and Production equipment of Pakistan Television Corporation (PTV).”
It has also released Rs160 billion from July-December, against which the PTV is importing electronic and IT equipment to upgrade its channels, including PTV Home, PTV News, and PTV Sports from standard to high-definition technology. The equipment is expected to be imported by the last quarter of FY2020.
The PTV is trying its best to improve signal quality to terrestrial network in the less developed areas of Pakistan, for which the Digital Terrestrial Multimedia Broadcast (DTMB) project — supported by a Chinese grant — is in the pipeline.
The number of registered TV set-holders, as of January 31, 2020, are 20,528,134.
The Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation (PBC) is one of the most important and effective electronic media for the projection of government policies and aspirations of the people of Pakistan, both at home and abroad. It has also been countering adverse foreign propaganda and negative perceptions.
A budget of Rs4.42 billion was allocated to the PBC to meet employee-related and operational expenses for FY2020 and Rs2.3 billion of that amount was released as of till March 31 for expenditures in the first two quarters of FY2019-20.