ISLAMABAD: Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan on Thursday launched the draft advertisement policy and announced bringing reforms to the Press Information Department (PID) to tackle corruption and mismanagement in the grant of government advertisements.
Addressing a ceremony, she said: “The reforms in the PID and the draft advertisement policy will eventually help media workers who were facing financial hardship due to non-payment by media houses.”
Dr Awan said: “When the bills are cleared in time, the managements too will be compelled to clear the salaries of their workers.”
She added that the reforms in the PID included automation and digitisation of the system to reduce human interaction and contain the misuse of power by the officials in the grant of advertisements. The reforms would also help in issuing merit-based advertisements to regional media.
She said the reforms would be in line with the vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan, which would be helpful in improving the governance system as well. “Ensuring transparency is the foremost priority of the incumbent government,” the special assistant said.
She said that the draft of the new advertisement policy had been disseminated to the stakeholders, including the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists, All Pakistan Newspapers Society, Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors and Pakistan Broadcasters Association.
“We are protecting the rights of media workers in the new policy,” she said.
Dr Awan said that the new policy would limit the role of advertising agencies as under the current mechanism the advertising agencies had a commission of 15 per cent of the total cost of each advertisement released by the government, while the bills were paid to the advertising agency.
“But many of them do not clear the media bills after the government ad has been aired or published, creating financial hardship for media houses and eventually causing suffering to media workers,” the special assistant said.
She said the media and democracy had a close relationship and both were complementary to each other. However, she stressed that the media needed to play its role in strengthening national institutions in the best interest of the country.
“We are also working for enhancing the professional skills and capacity-building of media workers, and for this purpose I will talk to international donors,” Dr Awan said.
Published in Dawn, December 20th, 2019