Licence fee

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AFTER facing public resentment, the Federal Cabinet on
Tuesday put off a proposal to enhance PTV license fee from Rs 35 to Rs 100 included in the electricity bills. The proposal is being discussed for long to meet the deficit of the state broadcaster.
There is no doubt that the public broadcasters are supported by the governments through such fees across the world to project their national narrative, undertake non-viable development projects of transmission dissemination, carry out commercially non-viable educational and information content necessary for national development and integration, social harmony and peace. Countries such as UK, France, Germany and Turkey charge a monthly license fee to fund BBC, France TV, DW and TRT respectively, following the similar international model. Having said so, in our view, there is no justification whatsoever of exorbitantly raising the PTV license fee by Rs 65 in one go. In fact it will further burden the electricity consumers who are already perturbed over the increase made in the power tariffs over the last two years. Secondly it must also been seen as to why the budget of PTV has reached twenty two billion rupees when the whole budget of all other private television channels is Rs 38. This in fact itself speaks of mismanagement in the national broadcaster. This is also the institution where political appointments were made by every government and that too on hefty packages. The sufferers of this maladministration have only been the regular employees of the organization who in recent times were seen protesting on the roads to get their due rights. Therefore, in our view the government should totally scrap the decision of enhancing the PTV license fee and rather ask its top management to come up with a business plan. If the private TV channels can make money, why cannot the PTV which has a far wider outreach than these channels. The institution that must be financially supported is Radio Pakistan. We rather suggest the government to give a share of Rs 10 to Rs 15 from the existing PTV license to Radio Pakistan, enabling it to switch to the digital technology.

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