ISLAMABAD: Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry on Wednesday accepted that the media industry was in a crisis but claimed that it was related to technology.

He suggested carrying out solid research to understand how media could adapt to new challenges.

Speaking at the event in which a media lab was launched, he said his ministry had included digital media in its official advertisements and plans to digitise its official news agency.

The media lab will help refine and develop innovative start-up ideas for digital media and journalism in the country.

Mr Chaudhry also said Rs7 billion digital advertising revenue from Pakistan was ending up with international companies abroad. The government is considering options to retain these revenues within the country, he added.

The minister said media entrepreneurship was necessary to provide jobs to fresh graduates of media studies.

He said technology was changing rapidly and Pakistan could not afford to ignore these changes in its media policy.

Swedish Ambassador Ingrid Johansson said Sweden’s experience could offer some lessons for digital innovation in Pakistan.

“You need long-term policies to enable innovation and digitalisation, and agreements across the board with analysis of what is useful for the country,” she said.

“The ‘triple helix’ model should be brought forward (in Pakistan) from government to government, year to year, over a long period of time,” she said.

Deputy Head of the German Mission Dr Jens Jokisch said Pakistan inherited a lively newspaper landscape but digital media had also taken off. He said the local media entrepreneurs should look for innovative solutions to exploit digital opportunities. Media Lab founder Asad Baig said the initiative planned to promote digital media innovation.

“Our main objective is to contribute to the creation of an ecosystem that encourages digital media content monetisation in Pakistan, especially for small-scale content producers and media innovators,” Mr Baig said.

He said the Media Lab would help fresh graduates of mass communication and young media professionals explore new possibilities of the digital media industry and create sustainable media enterprises.

Published in Dawn, February 7th, 2019

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