Govt clears dues to media organizations worth Rs700mn: Fawad

The government has proposed to set up the Pakistan Media Development Authority. Source: PID/APP.

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry said the ministry has paid outstanding dues to media organizations worth Rs700 million.

The minister said the due were paid on the instructions of Prime Minister Imran Khan. He said the amounts were owed by previous governments and had not been paid for a long time.

“These dues were not paid since a long time. This will lessen the financial hardship for media workers and provide protection,” he said, adding it would be injustice if they are still not being paid salaries by their respective organizations.

A day earlier, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain informed the National Assembly that several innovative steps were being taken to improve the performance of the state media organizations to represent the national narrative.

“Unlike the past practice of state media just projecting the ruling party, the incumbent government of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf had ensured to use state media as spokesperson of the country,” the minister said while winding up debate on demands for grants related to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Division.

He thanked the Ministry of Finance for allocating funds to enable state media to meet the demands of international standards. He added that a plan of refinements was being introduced in the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and its departments to face contemporary challenges.

Fawad stated that the digitalization of official media, including the Associated Press of Pakistan, Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation and Pakistan Television, would be initiated by August this year.  He said that PTV was being made into a full HD channel with having technology and programming of the modern era.

He said media was an important tool in the states around the globe to help mould public opinion in their favour, and could play an important role in promoting the narrative of Pakistan. The minister said wars were now fought through the victory of one’s narrative but ironically, no heed was paid to that aspect in past.

He said that recently an info-lab was captured through which it was observed that 845 fake websites were running against Pakistan while disseminating wrong news on sensitive subjects like Balochistan, Kashmir. He informed that more than 300,000 tweets were shared from India’s city Ahmadabad.

He said all this was happened due to weak media policies of the past governments as they did nothing to build a positive image of Pakistan, nor did they take any significant steps in the realm of the media tactics used by enemies against Pakistan.

Rather than focusing on state media promotion, he said the former governments remained busy in political appointments in the state media organisations burdening the national exchequer.

He said that there was no threat to journalists and using this issue was actually part of international propaganda to defame Pakistan.  He stressed that fake news was primarily generated from three to four places from India, which would then get a boost from Afghanistan and reach Pakistan.

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