ISLAMABAD, Feb 11 (APP):Senate Standing Committee on Information and Broadcasting was told on Tuesday that project of converting PTV broadcast to High Definition Technology would be completed in a time period of 6-8 months subject to provision of the allocated funds. It was told that the PTV was given Rs 90 million last year and Rs 200 would be given in the current year. However it was requested that the budget allocated for next year amounting to Rs 280 million might also be issued this year to complete the project in the scheduled time.

The meeting was held under the chairmanship of Senator Faisal Javed Khan here also expressed concerns over the delay in implementation and compliance of the committee’s recommendations regarding non-payment of salaries to journalists.

The Committee reiterated the earlier recommendation that 2 month payment of pending salaries should be released by February 25 and also directed the journalist bodies to provide lists of media houses to make estimate of pending salaries by the same date.

The Committee directed the ministry of information and broadcasting to share the draft legislation regarding journalists rights with it at the earliest. Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan said that both inside and outside the Parliament, voice was being raised on this issue.

She said there was need of legislation for ensuring timely payment of salaries of media houses employees.

She said that in new advertising policy, the issuance of cheques for advertisements would be linked with timely payment of salaries.

She said that announcement of 8th Wage Board Award was an achievement and it had been notified and the prime minister had issued directives for taking steps to resolve media persons problems.

While discussing the matter of equal representation in talk shows of PTV, its management was directed to provide details in terms of percentage and video record of representation of different political parties on the state owned enterprise.

The matters of PTV broadcasting fee and its need, dilapidated conditions of regional stations of PTV and PBC and the importance and requirements of generating new content were also discussed.

The meeting was attended among others by Senators Rukhsana Zuberi, Anwarul Haq Kakar, Syed Sabir Shah, Abdur Rehman Malik and Pervaiz Rasheed.

Besides Secretary Information and Broadcasting Akbar Hussain Durrani, senior officials from the ministry and its attached departments were also present in the meeting.