PTV earns Rs 300 million profit in FY19
The state-run TV channel, Pakistan Television Corporation got 2.5% increase in its revenue and secured Rs 300 million profit in the last financial year (2018-19), according the managing director PTV. The Senate Standing Committee on Information, Broadcasting, National History and Literary Heritage met here on Wednesday under the chairmanship of Senator Faisal Javed in which the committee was told that despite limited resources, PTV witnessed an increase in its revenue.
Regarding revamping of PTV, the MD PTV told the meeting that he is up to a plan to formulate a reform mechanism and sought time for its preparation. The committee gave one month time to come up with a comprehensive plan regarding technological enhancement, human resource issues and content management.
Regarding the status of payments to the PTV pensioners, the committee was told that the state enterprise has to pay a total of Rs 2 billion liability in the heads of pensions and commutation. It was told that Board of Directors has approved payment of Rs 700 million, which will be distributed within two weeks.
This will be an attempt to clear the backlog of 2016 and 2017, and then the pending payments of 2018 will be catered to.
The chairman of the PTV Board told the committee that being a state channel, PTV has to represent and protect the culture, value system and national interest and this does not generate commercial business.
He said that an organisation which is paying 76% of its budget on staff management cannot be expected to go in profit with only 6% of budget spent on contents.
Chairman Committee Senator Faisal Javed Khan reiterated that the commitment will continue taking the matter up till its resolution.
While discussing the matter of public importance raised by Senator Abdur Rehman Malik regarding ‘character assassination’ of a PPP leader on electronic media, the mover observed that fake news damages everyone irrespective of party or any other affiliation, and there should be a plausible and long-term solution considering the ethical values of being a media person.
He said parameters need to be defined and a proper legislation has to be in place or else some required amendments in the PEMRA Act should be made.
Special Assistant to the Prime Minister Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan observed that the concerns regarding fake news are coming from many sectors. She said that there is a collective understanding to bring forth a responsible role of media without putting any bars on freedom of expression. She agreed that some structural reforms are needed in PEMRA but it has to be under a set of guidelines. She said that an exercise on the said issues was conducted by constituting a committee to coordinate with all government sector and private media stakeholders and the committee may guide the ministry as to how to go about it. The committee decided to wait till the proposal comes from the ministry by August.
The committee was also given a detailed briefing on working and performance of Lok Virsa and was told that Lok Virsa receives Rs 95.544 million aid from the government and out of the amount, Rs 72.864 million goes in employees-related work while Rs 22.680 million is spent on operating expenses.
The committee appreciated the proposal of having book stalls at airports and railway stations to not only publicise the organisation and its work but also to increase awareness about national culture and heritage.
The committee recommended having close work coordination between PTV and Lok Virsa by doing programmes and marathon transmission on special events arranged by Lok Virsa. The proposal of advertising the summer camp and other activities related to kids in government and private schools was also stressed upon.
The committee was told that Lok Virsa is aiming at arranging Lok Melas in provincial capitals, doing collaboration with universities on heritage awareness, conducting cultural surveys and research, arranging talent hunt folk festivals and making efforts to revive dying arts and crafts.