Release of advertisements: Govt depts asked to send ads through PID, not independently
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has directed all the ministries/divisions and attached departments to comply with the centralized policy of issuing government advertisements to the print and electronic media only through the Press Information Department (PID).
The prime minister has actually barred the ministries/divisions from issuing advertisements directly to the media and his Principal Secretary Azam Khan conveyed the directive under his own signatures this month.
The ministries/divisions and attached departments were officially communicated on January 8, 2020. An official communication from the PM Office titled “Streamlining government advertisements”, a copy of which is available with The News, disclosed that in order to streamline the process of release of government advertisements, the prime minister has been pleased to desire the following:
1- The advertisements of the federal ministries/departments/organizations as well as autonomous and semi-autonomous bodies under their control will be released only through Press Information Department (PID) of Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. This will include all government advertisements including classified and display advertisements; and
ii) The sponsoring organizations will clearly indicate the availability of funds to Press Information Department with every requisition. The sponsoring organizations will only specify the language, region, the periodicity of the publication and the number of insertion desired. All Ministries/Divisions shall take necessary action on the direction of Prime Minister and also to direct the organizations under their administrative control including corporations, autonomous bodies, semi-autonomous bodies etc. to strictly abide by these guidelines. The sources said this centralized policy was rejected by the media organizations because it was always used as a tool to twist the media’s arm and strangulate its independence. In the past, same efforts were made to centralise advertisement policy but it failed to achieve the desired results so it was withdrawn.
Now new efforts have been made and the PM Office issued the orders without consultations with all the stakeholders. It is yet to see how different media stakeholders react to this policy.
The advertisements have been centralised to punish incumbent regime critics. But a relevant government official said that such was not the case, adding that if any complaint is received against any partisan approach they would check it. He said that some media organisation had complained of not receiving government advertisements, and the step had been taken for bringing transparency in the whole affair. After issuance of new directives, the funds of ministries concerned would not be released if they did not comply with the new mechanism.