PESHAWAR, Oct 19 (APP):Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Senator Shibli Faraz on Monday said an inclusive mechanism was being prepared to streamline the distribution of advertisements and payment of outstanding dues to the media outlets.
The present elected government, which strongly believed in freedom of media, needed the cooperation of all stakeholders in that regard, he said while addressing here a joint meeting of Council of Pakistan Newspapers Editors (CPNE) and All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS).
“I feel proud that I am the son of legendary poet and writer Ahmed Faraz whose main weapon was his pen. Pen is also a key weapon of people associated with the profession of journalism and, therefore, I also consider myself a part of the journalist community.”
Shibli Faraz said there were a small of newspapers with only channel of Pakistan Television in 60’s and 70’s, which were providing information to the people. Moreover, the information ministers had sufficient time to hold meetings with the stakeholders.
“Today, in the presence of a large number of newspapers and TV channels, the minister for information remain on duty for 24 hours to inform the people about the government’s policies, reforms and projects, besides responding to media questions about day to day issues of domestic, national and international importance,” he added.
He said despite his busy schedule of official engagements, he was well aware of the problems of newspaper owners. A proper mechanism should be in place for establishing harmonious relations between the govt departments and media organizations, which should not be affected with a change in government.
He said the newspapers played a key role in informing the masses about the government policies and projects, besides national and international issues, and any appreciation or criticism from them on the government policies should not be linked with issuance of advertisements.
He said the government desired to evolve such a mechanism that ensured financial empowerment and independence of media organizations.
Shibli Faraz said the outstanding amount accumulated on account of advertisements from 2018 till date had been paid to the media outlets, but unfortunately salaries were not paid to the media workers. The prime minister or information minister should not be held responsible for that.
He said the country was facing economic challenges and the issuance of unnecessary advertisements would burden the national exchequer. During the previous regimes, advertisements were issued for personal publicity and their proper record was also not maintained.
He said the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government after coming into power streamlined the procedure for issuance of advertisements to the media outlets and made it transparent.
The minister urged the media owners to ensure timely payment of salaries to their workers.
He clarified that the government had neither closed any media organization nor pressured any news channel or newspaper for personal media coverage.
Shibli Faraz said the government was in the process to introduce a bill for the protection and welfare of journalists, and sought positive and workable suggestions in that regard.
He said the provincial governments would be requested for payment of outstanding amounts to newspaper owners on account of advertisements. There should be no objection on issuance of maximum advertisements to largely circulated newspapers and the cooperation of newspaper owners would be required in that regard.
“We want to improve the standard of media industry,” the minister said, adding parameters should be devised for the purpose, which should also ensure due rights to the journalists.
The minister said he had special focus on the promotion of regional newspapers and efforts were being made to provide them facilities at par with the national ones.
The process for obtaining declaration for regional newspapers was very simple, he added.
Earlier, APNS Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chairman Syed Haroon Shah, in his welcome address, informed the minister about the problems being faced by the newspaper owners.