MINISTER for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain has fulfilled the promise of digitalising state media including PTV, Radio Pakistan, APP which indeed will go a long way not only in improving quality of their content but also expanding their outreach.
President Arif Alvi who launched the digitalisation initiative at a ceremony at Pak-China Centre on Saturday emphasised media’s role for narrative building to effectively counter Islamophobia and to forcefully project the issue of Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK).
There is no denying that state media especially Radio Pakistan and PTV have always remained at the forefront in protection of national interests and creating awareness amongst masses about different issues.
During the first wave of Covid-19, it was Radio Pakistan platform that was effectively used by Special Assistant on Poverty Alleviation Dr Sania Nishtar to reach out to millions of vulnerable families.
Similarly, during any calamity like situation state media has always played critical role to provide timely information to people.
During Pakistan-India standoff in 2019, one saw how Indian PM Narendra Modi was irked by the coverage of Radio Pakistan.
It is however surprising that those sitting in Parliament do not fully understand the importance of state media. Most recently, members of a standing committee declared them a burden on national exchequer.
We will suggest that these members should visit offices of state media and see for themselves the services being rendered by employees there.
Especially Radio Pakistan has very effectively used the platform of social media and its followers both on Twitter and Facebook are in millions.
Its website is also attracting millions of visitors on daily basis not only from Pakistan but also across the globe.
While the Information Minister deserves appreciation for digitalising state media, the process of reforms including equipping state media with latest gadgets must continue to exploit their full potential.
It is also for Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to address problems faced by the employees of these organisations pertaining to non-increase in their salaries.
It is only through employee satisfaction that quality work can be produced. The salaries of state media employees are far less when compared to other government departments.
They must also be given 25% disparity allowance and 10% increase in salaries recently announced by government in the budget.