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Govt released Rs1.2 billion to media houses during nine months: Awan

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Special Adviser to Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting, Firdous Ashiq Awan, on Thursday said that the Ministry of Information has no dues remaining in term of advertisement as the government has released Rs1.2 billion to media outlets in last nine months.

Firdous Ashiq Awan, while briefing the Senate Standing Committee for Information and Broadcasting, said, “Although, we are not responsible for the ads that were broadcasted and published against us.”

Prime Minister [Imran Khan] has instructed to release the payments of those ads too,” she said.

Awan detailed that the federal government is going to clear other dues to media outlets and an agreement was made with media outlets for the process of clearance.

She said that Punjab province is due to pay dues of Rs570 million to print and electronic media, whereas, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) is due to pay Rs100 million. “Private companies pay off 85 per cent share of the advertisements while the government’s part is up to 10-15 per cent,” she added.

“Media houses generate its revenue primarily through private sector which goes up to 85 per cent,” Awan said.

The information adviser said that Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) cannot play any role in the payment of salaries of media workers.

Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) Senator Pervaiz Rasheed criticised Awan, saying that the stance and policies of the present government are not yet cleared. He said, “There seriousness can be seen as neither an appointment is made for the position of information minister nor state minister.”

The PML-N Senator urged Prime Minister Imran Khan to appoint a suitable person as the information minister. He said that the media crisis is basically linked with the economic crisis of the country which reduces the purchase power of the nationals.

To this, Awan said, “We are not bringing Ata-ul-Haq Qasmi at the state television like previous government as the present rulers did not prioritise rewarding blue-eyed persons in the national institutions.”

She clarified that the state and the government’s rhetoric are same to put national interests on top and then public interests.

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