PTV justifies increase in licence fee

Updated January 27, 2020

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The corporation claimed in the statement to have earned an operational profit of Rs300 million during the financial year 2018-2019 after having run in losses for three consecutive years i.e. from 2015-2018. — Photo courtesy Pakistan Television Corporation website
The corporation claimed in the statement to have earned an operational profit of Rs300 million during the financial year 2018-2019 after having run in losses for three consecutive years i.e. from 2015-2018. — Photo courtesy Pakistan Television Corporation website

ISLAMABAD: The state-run Pakistan Television (PTV) justified its proposal of raising its revenue by increasing TV licence fees, included in consumers’ electricity bills, saying that public broadcasters around the world are supported by their governments to project their national narrative and that the current amount being charged is a paltry sum of money.

According to a statement released on Sunday, PTV administration, in response to the Jan 22 news on passing its Rs20 billion deficit to consumers, said that “public broadcasters are supported by their respective governments through TV licence fees all around the world to project their national narrative, undertake non-viable development projects of transmission dissemination, carry out commercially non-viable educational and information content necessary for national development and integration, social harmony and peace.”

It further stated that “countries like the UK, France, Germany and Turkey charge a monthly TV licence fee to fund BBC, France TV, DW and TRT respectively ... following the similar international model, the Pakistan government charges a monthly TV licence fee of Rs35 only.”

Nevertheless, the corporation claimed in the statement to have earned an operational profit of Rs300 million during the financial year 2018-2019 after having run in losses for three consecutive years i.e. from 2015-2018.

Regarding the minutes of the meeting in which the PTV board of directors (BoD) finalised the proposal to increase the TV licence fee, the state-run broadcaster said that “in every meeting of the BoD, status update of the ongoing plans is reviewed and existing strategies are fine-tuned on the basis of operational ground realities. Therefore, the minutes of one or two BoD meetings cannot be construed as the complete plan of action of the organisation as it is just a small part and not the whole. Thus, such information is not the reflection of the road-map the organisation is following and may not be used to establish a view about the organisation.”

Published in Dawn, January 27th, 2020