Govt to appoint ITNE chairman soon: Farrukh

ISLAMABAD, Feb 16 (APP):Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Farrukh Habib Wednesday said the Federal Government would soon appoint the chairman of Implementation Tribunal for Newspaper Employees (ITNE) to resolve the issues of newspaper employees.

The minister told this to the Senate’s Standing Committee on Information and Broadcasting, which met here with Faisal Javed Khan in the chair.
Commenting on the incident of TV host Iqrar-ul-Hassan, Farrukh said the government took a timely action as the officials involved in the incident had been suspended. Investigations were underway and on their completion further action would be taken.

Senator Irfan Siddiqui condemned torturing of the anchor, saying no one should be allowed to treat the media persons in such a manner.
The committee chairman also condemned the incident.

At the outset of meeting, Pakistan Television (PTV) officials briefed the committee on the policy regarding payment of royalties to the artists. They said,”There is no longer a tradition of paying royalties to the artists by any media house. A lump sum payment is preferred by the artists themselves, which is made in the beginning.”

Senator Faisal Javed said royalties were paid to the artists all over the world. “Money is made by telecasting the work of artists again and again, but nothing is given to them. Posting of TV programmes on YouTube and social media also generates significant revenue.”

He said the artists should be given the option in their contracts to choose between royalty or lump sum payment for their work.
He directed the PTV officials to work out a comprehensive procedure for the payment of royalties and submit a report in the committee’s next meeting.

The Information Ministry officials briefed the committee on the welfare and process of provision of financial support to the artists. At present the ministry had two funds for the welfare of artists. Upon receipt of an application, all possible financial assistance was provided to an artist after approval from the board. The artists mostly did not contact the relevant forums for financial assistance as they were not aware of the funds, they added.

They said 95 per cent of applications pertained to grants for medical treatment. However, with the issuance of health cards by the government, the problems of health and medical treatment would be solved to a great extent.
Senator Faisal said most of the artists resided in Karachi, who could not avail the health card facility due to the cold shoulder of Sindh government.

Senator Irfan Siddiqui alleged that the News One channel was closed without any inquiry and any notice.
Senator Faisal expressed strong reservations over the fabricated campaign regarding Prime Minister Imran Khan and his wife. “There should be no comments on personal matters. Freedom of expression should not be curtailed but its misuse should also be discouraged. There are all kinds of fake news going on especially on the social media which needs to be addressed. There is an urgent need. The laws of libel and defamation must be tightened.”

The ministry officials also briefed the committee on the modus operandi and mandate of the External Publicity Wing. The information officers were posted in 21 countries whose job was to highlight the positive side of Pakistan around the world.
The committee chairman appreciated the performance of External Publicity Wing and PTV management, and directed that a detailed report on the positive coverage of Pakistan at the international level in the last three months be presented in the next meeting.

The meeting was attended by senators Muhammad Tahir Bizenjo, Kamran Michael and Anwar Lal Din, besides officials of Information Ministry and PTV.