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Tuesday April 16, 2024

Govt releases Rs63m payment to media houses out of Rs6 bn

By Our Correspondent
May 19, 2020

ISLAMABAD: In light of the Prime Minister Office’s direction for clearing the outstanding payments to the media houses, the Press Information Department (PID) has taken up the issue of outstanding payments with all the federal ministries/ departments/ organisations and expedited the payment process.

In this connection, the first tranche of Rs63 million was distributed by the Principal Information Officer Ms Shahera Shahid to the advertising agencies. The advertising agencies have undertaken to clear the payments of newspapers/channels against the received amount within 48 hours.

The purpose of this exercise is to ensure that the media houses should start making timely payments to their workers before Eid, says a statement issued by the PID. Both the APNS and PBA were consulted before the distribution of cheques and a representative of the APNS was also present during the distribution of cheques.

It needs to be clarified that this is the first tranche and efforts are being made to clear the outstanding payments before Eid. The government said Rs63 million had been paid while more payments would be released before the Eid.

It is to be mentioned here that an amount of Rs6 billion was due against the government out of which Rs3 billion was supposed to be paid before the holy month of Ramazan. Meanwhile, the All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS), Pakistan Broadcasters Association (PBA) and Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) expressed their disappointment with the release of just Rs63 million; however, they expressed the hope that substantial amounts will be released by the government before Eid.

Meanwhile, Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Shibli Faraz Monday said solving the problems of journalists and media workers was the government top priority and payments to the media houses will start from Tuesday, which will provide relief to the media industry and media persons.

He said this during an interaction with the Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE) officials via a video conference. Secretary Information and Broadcasting Akbar Durrani and Principal Information Officer Shahera Shahid also attended the meeting.

The CPNE informed the minister about the problems facing the media industry. The minister said the government believed in the basic right of free expression and solution to the problems of journalists and media workers was its top priority.

He said a mechanism was being thrashed out to ward off such issues in future adding that the payments would be linked to the salaries of journalists and media workers.

The quota of regional newspapers was necessary, as many leading journalists rose from such newspapers, he said and added that the news agencies’ problems would also be solved. He said the very forum would have its second session and the matters would be taken forward with consensus. Likewise, transparency would also be ensured in ABC.

Among others, the video conference was attended by President CPNE Arif Nizami and Secretary General Dr. Jabbar Khattak. Senator Shibli Faraz said the world was hailing the Corona Relief Tiger Force established by Prime Minister Imran Khan to assist the masses.

In a tweet, he said the youth were helping and facilitating the people in the fight against the virus and were the nation’s pride. He also uploaded a Daily Telegraph report, which detailed the initiative of Tiger Force and said it would tap into youth population that was the country's one of the biggest resources. The Tiger Force will provide enthusiastic volunteers to aid the police, civil servants and health officials during the pandemic.