Senate body seeks record of TV channels’ ratings, ads -
Pakistan Press Foundation

Senate body seeks record of TV channels’ ratings, ads

Pakistan Press Foundation

ISLAMABAD: A meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Information and Broadcasting on Wednesday sought the record of channel ratings and advertisements issued to TV channels.

The meeting was chaired by Senator Faisal Javed in which the committee observed that government advertisements had been used to influence the editorial policies of media houses. According to the data from 2013 to 2018, there is a contradiction in the policy.

Federal Minister for Information Marriyum Aurangzeb said that the government is amending the PEMRA rules.

Talks are underway with the Joint Action Committee on the amendment regarding the PEMRA, she said while adding that amendments are made in consultation with the Joint Action Committee. All the stakeholders will be involved in any amendment, she further added.

In the past, the advertisements of non-paying media houses were not stopped nor were they linked to the payment of journalists’ salaries, said the minister.

She said law is being brought regarding workers’ salaries and contracts. She further informed the committee that the then information minister Fawad Chaudhry changed the category of channels during his tenure. In 2019, after the decision of the Supreme Court, the channels were rated, whereas, advertisements were given in A, B, and C categories, said Marriyum.

Prior to this classification, the PID’s advertising system was also transparent, she claimed. She said channels are rated according to programmes and time. Transparency in advertisements was ensured, no discrimination against any channel. Advertisements were also issued on the completion of 70 years of Pakistan after 2013, she said.

She said the government believes in freedom of the press. In the past, journalists were abducted and tortured. No such incident has taken place in our tenures, she added. The committee was briefed by the Ministry of Information on the amount spent on advertisements issued by the government to the electronic and print media from 2008 to 2013, 2013 to 2018, and 2018 to 2022, and details of payment procedures.

The committee was informed by the Ministry of Information that the Ministry of Information issues advertisements in five phases.

After approval of advertisements by federal government agencies, the Press Information Department releases advertisements as per the requirements of the agency, PIO Syed Mubashir Hassan said while adding that these advertisements are issued directly to the publications from the PID.

Transparency in the issuance and payment of advertisements is ensured by the government and the Ministry of Information, Mubashir added.

From 2013 to 2018, advertisements were given to electronic media by the ministry, Mubashir said while adding that outdoor campaign launched from 2018. Advertisements were also given regarding Operation Zarb-e-Azb from 2013 to 2015.

The committee was also informed about the PTV coverage for all the provincial governments including Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

The Chairman of the committee also stressed the need for implementation of the journalist protection bill and said that its implementation should be within the purview of the Information Ministry.

However, Marriyum Aurangzeb said that work on the bill will be completed soon.

Source: Business Recorder

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