Prime minister’s aide Firdous Ashiq Awan on Friday announced that it had been decided that a committee be formed to “overcome challenges” that are being faced by media workers, houses and the industry as a whole.
Speaking to reporters here, the special assistant to the prime minister (SAPM) on information and broadcasting said that Prime Minister Imran Khan himself will head the committee, while she will act as a coordinator.
She admitted that while international indicators like Moody’s and World Bank showed improvement in the country’s economy, the media sector was still facing financial constraints.
“About 85 per cent of media houses’ business depends upon advertisements by the private sector,” Awan said. “When the private sector faced difficulties, it affected media houses as well.”
She said that the prime minister had taken notice of the downsizing in the media industry and he strove to ensure, through “personal communication with owners” of media houses, that people’s jobs remain secure. “We succeeded in some cases but in others, we could not effectively communicate with the owners of [some] media houses. “The prime minister has decided that we settle this issue, once and for all and sit together to combat disinformation. People of a certain mindset are harming the national interest [by working] on an international agenda and who want to protect their own interests in the garb of media freedom.
“The prime minister, in order to reach a permanent solution to this problem and to address problems faced by media workers, legitimate issues of media houses and future challenges of this industry, has formed a committee.”
The committee will include presidents of the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists, All Pakistan Newspapers Society, chairman of Pakistan Broadcasting Association, an office bearer of Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors — whomever the body nominates — the chairman of the parliamentary association of the media and other stakeholders.
“Government will become a bridge between media house owners and workers,” Awan said, adding that the committee will settle issues pertaining to money that is owed to media houses by advertisers — which includes pending dues by the government — and unpaid salaries of media workers as well as any other issues related to their jobs.