ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Television has decided to reinstate the officials suspended for failing to ensure a ‘proper’ coverage of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s Lahore visit last week.

According to PTV spokesperson Sohail Bokhari, the management has decided to reinstate the suspended employees with effect from May 1.

The employees concerned have been informed that they may resume their duties on the first working day after the Eid holidays, the spokesperson added.

The prime minister visited Kot Lakhpat jail and Ramazan Bazaars in Lahore on April 24, but the PTV team was unable to make an on-the-spot coverage of the events due to “non-availability of a functional laptop”.

The state-run organisation suspended officials, including the General Manager of Lahore PTV, the coordinator for VVIP coverage and senior news editors.

These employees were, however, restored on the eve of Eidul Fitr, said a statement issued by the PTV.

A statement issued by PTV said the organisation “ensures its coverage integrity in line with its stated SOPs, but these were not followed during the Prime Minister’s Lahore visit”.

“Taking cognisance of gross negligence on part of the team, the management suspended the employees responsible for the whole coverage and the matter was put to detailed investigation,” the statement said.

“The suspensions were made as part of the standard operating procedure in place in the state media to avert recurrence of such incidents. But the management, taking a tolerant view of this negligence, has restored the services of these employees.”

Sources in PTV said the management usually suspends senior executives for negligence during VVIP coverage, but in this case action was taken against relatively low-ranking officials.

Another source pointed out that the PTV failed yet again on Sunday to broadcast live the first-ever visit of Chief Minister Hamza Shehbaz to southern Punjab.

Hamza visited Bahawalpur and spoke to the media in the evening, but the state broadcaster had to rely on private television channels for live coverage of the event. Even the logos of these channels were visible on the PTV screen.

Haroon Ilahi Toor, the PTV official responsible for VVIP coverage, said, however, that “we covered this event in a professional manner”.

Published in Dawn, May 2nd, 2022

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