Senate panel wants journalists’ dues to be cleared by 25th

Updated 12 Feb 2020

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Senator Rehman Malik says the government owes Rs1 billion to the media industry. — Dawn/File
Senator Rehman Malik says the government owes Rs1 billion to the media industry. — Dawn/File

ISLAMABAD: A parliamentary panel on Tuesday expressed concern over non-payment of salaries to journalists by private media organisations and called for clearing their pending dues by Feb 25.

The Senate Standing Committee on Information and Broadcasting, which met here under the chairmanship of Senator Faisal Javed Khan, also directed journalist bodies, including the Parliamentary Reporters Association (PRA), All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS) and Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), to provide lists of channels and reporters to estimate the pending salaries by the same date.

The chair reiterated the committee’s recommendation that salaries of journalists which have been pending for the past two months should be released within two weeks.

Senator Rehman Malik said the government owed Rs1 billion to the media industry and the same should be released and journalists’ pending salaries should be paid through the information ministry.

The meeting also directed the information ministry to share the draft legislation regarding journalists’ rights with the committee at the earliest.

Earlier, the committee was informed that the project of converting PTV broadcast to high-definition technology would be completed in six to eight months subject to provision of allocated funds. It was told that Rs90 million had been given last year and Rs200m would be given this year, while it was requested that Rs280m being allocated for the next year be given this year to facilitate the project’s completion on time.

The panel also discussed the matter of equal representation in talk shows of PTV. The PTV management was directed to provide in detail the record of representation of different political parties on the state-owned enterprise.

The matters of PTV broadcasting fee and its need, dilapidated conditions of regional stations of PTV and Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation (PBC) and the importance and requirements of generating new content were also discussed.

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Infirmation Firdous Ashiq Awan, senators Rukhsana Zuberi, Anwarul Haq Kakar, Syed Sabir Shah, Rehman Malik and Pervaiz Rashid and the information secretary, PTV chairman and managing director, PBC managing director and chairman of the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority attended the meeting.

Published in Dawn, February 12th, 2020