December 08, 2018
KARACHI - The All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS) and Pakistan Broadcasters Association (PBA) have taken strong exception to a recent statement of Federal Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry.
The minister had claimed that around half of the dues of the media industry had been paid to media houses, but none of that money was used to pay salaries of workers.
In a press release, the two bodies quoted the minister as having said: "half (Rs0.6 billion) of the Rs1.3 billion has been released to media houses which kept all of the money for themselves instead of paying their journalists."
Such statements are false and can create conflict within the media industry. Previously also the minister has made disparaging public remarks against the news media industry which is highly regrettable, the release said.
The fact is that the media over dues of the governments (federal and provincial) are over Rs8 billion and not 1.3 billion. Furthermore, the government hasn't even released 10 percent let alone half of the 1.3 billion fictitious figure given by the information minister.
The statement said that out of the Rs8 billion around Rs3 billion is overdue for more than four years, and the rest is overdue by nine to 15 months. The majority dues to the media industry are of federal and Punjab government.
APNS and PBA said that the chief justice had called a special meeting to facilitate the settlement of media dues. He had asked the federal and provincial governments to clear the undisputed dues within 30 days. However, even after almost 60 days the dues remain unpaid. Both the federal information minister and the federal finance minister were present in that meeting.
The joint statement by PBA and APNS criticized the remarks by the information minister as not only being inaccurate and misleading but also not befitting a federal minister.
“To set the record straight, so far not even 10% of the total amount owed by the federal and provincial governments has been paid, despite the assurances given by Prime Minister Imran Khan to the APNS Executive Committee on October 16, 2018 and subsequent meetings and joint forums of PBA and APNS with the government.
“The information minister appears to be misinformed by his ministry. It is recommended that he should reconfirm his facts before making public statements, as incorrect and false information, would reflect upon his credibility and status.”
Both APNS and PBA have requested Prime Minister Imran Khan to advise the relevant ministries to honor their commitments to the media and clear the outstanding dues.
Photo courtesy: suchtv.pk
The Nation, November 28, 2016