National media transformed with digital interventions: Report

Ministry of Information and Broadcasting
National media transformed with digital interventions: Report

ISLAMABAD, Aug 26 (APP):Revolutionary steps coupled with introduction of cutting-edge technology paved the way for transforming the national media networks in the country, said a three-year performance report of the Ministry of Information of Broadcasting launched here Thursday.

The journey of national media transformation kicked off in 2018 when Prime Minister Imran Khan came into the power and assigned the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting with a task of digitizing its departments to push the country’s narrative at international level in an effective way.

Prior to August 2018, rules, regulations and systems for development of media industry were either outdated or non-existent. Projection of government’s initiatives and projects at home and to create positive image of the country abroad was incoherent and lacking synergy.

Resultantly, the public sector media organizations became irrelevant and uncompetitive due to use of obsolete and redundant analogue technology. Media industry grew exponentially, but there was no system in place to provide proper media education and training to media persons.

Entire government machinery was using inefficient and non-transparent manual file handling. The media industry was facing financial crunch and sense of dissatisfaction and job insecurity by the media workers.

However, the remarkable steps of the government led to a visible improvement in overall working of media industry through key objectives of the vision included effective two-way communication by the state with citizens to ensure good governance, strengthening Pakistan’s image abroad, digitalization and modernization of APPC, PBC, PTVC, SRBC& PEMRA, streamlining of registration procedures for publications, news agencies, digitization of media monitoring and analysis processes, automation of registration procedures.

Promotion and development of film industry, media development through capacity building, merit based financial assistance to journalists / journalist bodies, e-filing system for Ministry and attached Departments, setting up of state-of-the-art Media University to provide quality education in the fields of Mass Media, social media and Communication and transparent and fair distribution of government advertisements also formed part of key objectives of the present government’s vision.

For realization of the vision the ministry took several initiatives including establishment of Pakistan Information Commission, Digital Media Wing and all media regulatory bodies are being brought under one Umbrella of Pakistan Media Development Authority (PDMA).

It also approved new advertisement policy and launched online application for Press Registrar Office, Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC).

During the PTI tenure, Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation (PBC) joined a few nations like Russia, Indonesia and South Africa by adopting DRM transmission technology and developed a Mobile Application (Android & iOS) and started live audio streaming by 25 channels.

ToRs were finalized for newly created Board of Governors (BoGs) on Film Policy 2018 and database of artists was being created and updated.

The ministry completed physical verification of over 800 newspapers/periodicals and distribution of Rs.42.23 million was done to journalists and Press Clubs. It has channeled Government’s initiatives, programs and projects in the Social Media, identified and reacted to fake news on Pakistan.

It was also setting up of first ever National Media University put on fast track.
Awareness and outreach for the Ministry’s initiates included effective two-way communication by the state with citizens to ensure good governance and strengthening Pakistan’s image abroad.

Digitalization and modernization of APPC, PBC, PTVC, SRBC& PEMRA and streamlining of registration procedures for publications, news agencies has been done. Digitization of media monitoring & analysis processes and automation of registration procedures has been done and promotion and development of film industry was being done. Media development was being done through capacity building and merit based financial assistance to journalists / journalist bodies had been planned.

E-filing system for Ministry and attached Departments has been introduced.
A state-of-the-art Media University to provide quality education in the fields of Mass Media, social media and Communication was being set up.

Transparent and fair distribution of government advertisements was being introduced.
The initiatives for awareness and outreach included experts meeting on the new challenges of media training with ISESCO, workshop for Female Journalists on “Empowering Women in Media; Inclusion Leadership and Technology,” one day Workshop on ‘Story telling with info graphics: The art of Data Visualization, seminar on “International Day in Support of Victims of Torture” (Humans without Human Rights in IOJ&K), Kashmir under siege seminar, panel Discussion on Kashmir Siege Day.

Training on Media Engagement for Civil Servants was organized and a Grand Finale of National Amateur Short Film Festival (NASFF) in collaboration with ISPR was held in June 2021.

11 photographic and painting exhibitions were organized on Kashmir Day, World Environment Day, Pakistan Day and Quaid-i-Azam Day.

On the front legislative and policy framework the Ministry of Information drafted advertisement policy for print, electronic, social and digital media.

The ministry drafted Protection of Journalists and Media Professionals Act, 2020 jointly with Ministry of Human Rights, and proposed the followings bills: – Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation (PBC) Amendment Bill – Associated Press of Pakistan Corporation (APPC) Amendment Bill – Press Council of Pakistan (PCP) Amendment Bill – Motion Pictures Ordinance Amendment Bill – Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) Amendment Bill – Press, Newspapers, News Agencies & Books Registration Amendment Bill – Defamation Amendment Bill.

It prepared Digital Media Advertisement Mechanism, National Digital Cable Policy, 2021 and notified SOPs/ criteria for grant of advertisement rates, constituted PTV Board of Directors, 2021, constituted PEMRA Council of Complaints, 2021, notified PBC, APP Rules, and notified Pakistan Information Commission Rules.

Administrative wing of the ministry administered PSDP projects to the tune of Rs. 2 billion, coordinated four projects in PSDP+ with Public Private Partnership Authority including Media University. Besides hiring of Transactional Advisor for two PSDP plus projects was at final stage. The ministry secured Technical Supplementary Grant of Rs. 1.4 billion for Media Campaigns.

The ministry has established E-Office system in the Ministry/ Departments / Organizations and notified a committee to oversee up-gradation of National Anthem, spearheaded observance of Covid-19 SoPs and vaccination of employees and environment of the Ministry was Covid-19 SOP compliant.

It distributed Rs.8.1 million to the deserving artists and seniority lists for the employees of BS-01 to BS-16 were notified PID.

Press Information Department issued 7646 press releases, 23608 pictorial coverage were made, 614 press conferences were arranged, 456 articles were commissioned, 1871 accreditation card were issued, 168 cases for provision of financial assistance were processed

Digital Media Wing of the ministry set the Instagram account of GOP which recorded 941K members, 55 million impressions, 835k likes and two million video views. The Facebook page secured 5.1 million members, registering an increase of 206%; Twitter engaged around 3.3 million people and around 50 million people globally.

PM office Twitter received 110 million impressions, 8.6 million video views whereas PM office’s YouTube channel had 8.2 million video views an increase of 7868% .It carried out verification of 115 official Twitter accounts.

Online portal for ABC certification to ensure transparency and merit was set up and 140 fake publications from Central Media List (CML) were removed ,physical verification of over 1642 publications was done and it issued 1230 ABC Certificates to publications across the country

Press Registrar office shifted from manual working to digitalization format and launched official website ( www.opr.gov.pk) and online OPR portal.

DEMP drafted Film Policy (The Moving Picture Policy) and tracked 25454 advertisement spots, identified 416 missing spots and saved over Rs. 29 million public money.
It published six special numbers of Mah-e-Nau, two Special Publications on Government’s One Year and Two-Year Performance and distributed 120,920 copies of other publications. It produced forty documentaries to project Pakistan’s image abroad and operated media handles of the Directorate to regularly update news.

EP Wing of the ministry has 17 Press Sections abroad which projected govt’s policies in their host countries. It issued 2389 press releases, published in 7369 newspapers and periodicals, published 695 articles, issued 40 rebuttals, arranged 983 interviews, and organized 320 political events and 300 cultural events. The EP Wing produced 120 documentaries, published 246 supplements, provided visa facilitation to 276 foreign journalists and provided media coverage to 89 Pakistani visiting dignitaries.
The Cyber Wing increased visibility on social media in the last three years from 40k to 697k and launched social media campaign on different national events in social media.
Information Services Academy was setting up of state-of-the-art Digital Lab to train media practitioners through latest digital learning tools and simulation software (Approved project under PSDP).
PBC completed PSDP project titled “Technical up-gradation of Multan station in 2020 . “Up-gradation of Studios and Master Control Rooms” @Rs. 254.945 million approved by DDWP in 2020. The PC-1 of “Digital Radio Migration” is being processed at planning division and construction of auditorium and elevator at Multan Station launched for 2021-2022.
Human resource in PBC was reduced from 4329 to 3213 by abolishing 825 posts and expenses minimized by merging 17 Stations/Unit.
PTV earned operational profit of Rs. 853m in 2018-19 and Rs.1.1 billion in 2019-2020 and paid pension liability of Rs.2.5 billion and operation liability of Rs. 2.8 billion. It launched a comprehensive program to restructure human resource.
PTVC Home’s viewership increased by 100% and project of migration of PTV News from SD to HD was completed. It also acquired digital rights of ICC broadcasting and Digital Right 2020-2023.
APPC transformed its text-based news service to Digital format and news content was diversified by using Info graphics, and short videos on social media. Restructuring of News Operations” at an estimated cost of Rs. 786.79 million has been launched to provide high-quality content for print, electronic and social media. Multi-lingual news content of APP would project the vision and policies of the government and real image of Pakistan aboard.
SRBC continued to project polices, projects and initiatives of the government.

PEMRA has awarded following licenses during past three years. Satellite TV channels were 89 by August 2018 and 27 new licenses were given during past three years. In August 2018, there were 150 commercial radio stations functional whereas 27 more had been added during past three years. Number of non-commercial FM radio stations was 54 in 2018 whereas 7 have been added in three years. Landing rights permission was allowed to 31 channels by 2018 and 14 more channels were added in the list in three years time.
IPTV distribution service licence was provided to only three operators by August 2018 in which addition of eight more has been done.
By 2018 Pakistan had no TV audience measurement mechanism and now it has five. In 2018 there were 4 Mobile TV networks and two had been added during past three years. Additional of 450 cable television networks had been made in 3785 already available in 2018.
Cable TV license were renewed to 1300 networks during past three years time. In 2018 there was no direct to home (DTH) service available in 2018 while one new service was launched during past three years. Monitoring capacity enhanced from 50 to 250 TV channels.
Central Board of Film Censors censored 366 films and earned a revenue of 5.6 million.
ITNE fixed 12,777 cases disposed of 767 cases and provided monitory relief of Rs. 172.62 million to media workers
Pakistan Information Commission received 1174 appeals, closed 522 appeals, orders issues for 266 appeals. It received 120 online appeals, 39 are under review, and 68 are closed. It developed a manual titled “Exercising the Right of Access to Information”.