NA body lauds APP's role in countering anti-state propaganda

ISLAMABAD, July 14 (APP): National Assembly Standing Committee on Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage Thursday appreciated the role of Associated Press of Pakistan (APP), the premier news agency,  in projecting soft image of the country abroad and countering the  anti-state propaganda effectively.

The committee meeting, chaired by Pir Muhammad Aslam Bodla,  also underlined the need for further improving its working by  equipping the organization with the latest equipment and mode  of communication.

Managing Director APP Masood Malik said, being a state news agency, APP not only ensures coverage of the government policies  but also efficiently covers parliamentary and political activities,  taking place across the country.

He said the hallmark of the professional activities of the
national news agency is transmission of authentic, unbiased and  credible news.

Executive Director of APP Suhail Ali Khan gave a detailed
briefing about the mechanism of the agency’s news gathering in multi-languages, its transmission to subscribers – newspapers,  television channels and foreign news agencies.

Answering a query of MNA Murad Saeed, the MD said APP
is giving coverage to the government and opposition parties
without any bias. However, he added newspapers and media houses  publish and cover news items as per their editorial policies.

He said development activities are given extensive
coverage, irrespective of any distinction of the government
and opposition.

Replying to another question, Masood Malik said the
agency is making all-out efforts to clear all dues of its
employees, adding that it recently paid arrears of 20 percent
salary increase, which was pending since 2012.

In reply to a question of MNA Arifa Khalid Parvez, the
MD said APP has been effectively tackling the anti-state
propaganda by engaging Pakistani diplomats and missions abroad.

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He made it clear that the process of filling the foreign
correspondents posts would be completed soon.

Accordingly, a  summary for foreign correspondents posting in London, New Delhi  and Beijing has been sent to the Prime Minister for approval,  he added.

The committee was informed that authentic, comprehensive
and factual coverage of events of public interest is the hallmark  of the organization, and news are being supplied in different  regional languages including Pushto, Saraiki, Brahvi, Balochi  and Sindhi besides English, Urdu and Arabic languages.

The committee was also briefed that the organization  was giving extensive coverage to national events, parliamentary
proceedings, sports and cultural activities, development projects  and public events, besides supplying news features, photos and  video footage to subscribers.

Currently, the APP network is working at Tehsil and
District level, while it has nine bureaus and seven stations
across the country.

The meeting was informed that APP had its correspondents
in Washington, London, New Delhi and Beijing, and stringers in  New York, Dhaka and Brussels. Besides, it has the plan to expand  its base abroad covering Jeddah, Ankara, Dubai, Tehran, Moscow,  Kabul and Colombo.

The body was apprised that APP’s existing staff strength
was 957 including interns, daily-wagers, contractual employees,  while its expenditures were Rs 943.412 million for the year  2016-17.

Its budgetary grant is Rs 750 million and own income
through subscription is Rs 17.500 million, whereas the agency’s  current shortfall is Rs 175.912 million and outstanding  liabilities are of Rs 273 million.

The committee was also informed about APP’s news exchange agreements with around 35 foreign news agencies.

The body was briefed that APP is planning to launch news
service in other important languages besides further augmenting  Video News Service (VNS) and building professional capacity of  editorial staffers.

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It has established a social media desk, and acquired DSNG
for live transmission to subscribers. It is making efforts to link  the grant of ABC certification to newspapers with APP subscription  besides payment of advertisement dues with payment of subscription  to APP.

It has also developed Android application for overseas
marketing and advertisement and established modern studio

The meeting was attended among others by MNAs Shakir Bashir Awan, Waseem Akhtar Shaikh, Parveen Masood Bhatti, Arifa Khalid  Parvez, Syed Amir Ali Shah Jamote, Belum Hasnain, Murad Saeed,  Muhammad Azhar Khan Jadoon, Naeema Kishwer Khan and Malik  Muhammad Aamir Dogar.

Director Coordination Muhammad Naeem Chaudhry and Director Information Technology Ghawas Khan assisted Managing Director Masood Malik in the meeting.

The committee also condemned the recent statement of former  T20 captain Shahid Afridi’s about cricket talent in Pakistan.

Later, talking to APP, the committee member Arifa Khalid
Parvez appreciated the working of APP on national issues and  stressed the need to project true image of the country in a  more efficient manner.

Belum Hasnain said media had a great role in tackling
the challenges of modern times with state of art equipment
and trained workforce.

She was of the view that opposition parties were not
given appropriate coverage.

Parveen Masood Bhatti was highly appreciative of the
briefing given by the APP management.

She suggested that APP correspondents at Tehsil and
District level should be made more active so that social
issues at the grassroots level could be highlighted and
solved promptly.