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Event Title: Senate Standing Committee on Information, Broadcasting, National History and Literary Heritage

Event Date: 2018-05-29

Senate Standing Committee on Information, Broadcasting, National History and Literary Heritage in its meeting on Tuesday was told by Secretary Information that PTV receivables as of today amount to Rs. 5317.181 million and most if not all financial problems of PTV will be solved once this are paid to the State Television.

The meeting was held under the chairmanship of Senator Faisal Javed Khan here at the Parliament Lodges and was attended among others by Senators Dr. Ghous Muhammad Khan Niazi, Syed Sabir Shah, Rubina Khalid, Khushbakht Shujat, Mushtaq Ahmed, Secretary Informabation and other senior officials from the Pakistan Television. The receivables of PTV include payments from DISCOs, tax refund from FBR, dues of government clients and advertisement payments. Secretary Information remarked that receivables in form of advertisements which amount to 1213.103 million will come soon but the pending receivables from other areas are a matter of concern and are causing huge loss to the State enterprise. The Committee decided to call relevant authorities to resolve the issue and recommended early payments.

Chairman and members of the Committee expressed displeasure over the absence of the Minister of State for Information who despite committing earlier did not make it to the meeting. Secretary Information gave a comprehensive briefing to the Committee regarding the present structure of PTV and proposed changes in the board of directors, number and nature of different PTV channels, a list of pending and cleared liabilities, details of staff structure, amount required for paying pensions and commutation funds, social media management, programming details among other matters.

While responding to queries of members of the Committee regarding in-house and outsourced productions, Secretary Information told the Committee that PTV is producing only 38% of aired content itself. 8% content is outsourced production while the rest of the airtime is filled with archives which include old dramas, programmes, transmission and music. It was told that if the payments long due to PTV are made, PTV will be able to manage its finances and have more production which will reduce archival programmes and hence gather more viewership and revenue.

Chairman Committee raised the matter of non-payment of honorariums to the PTV staff deputed in the Parliament House which was announced in the tenure of former Chairman Senate Mian Raza Rabbani. Secretary Information observed that PTV is already deep in liabilities and pending payments and paying this amount is not possible at this stage. Senator Faisal Javed asked the Secretary to submit a written reply to the Committee so that the matter can be taken up further formally.

The matter of maintaining balance in coverage of political activities of government and opposition was discussed again in the meeting. The Committee observed that the huge costs involved in covering these activities and the loss incurred in lost airtime has to be borne by someone and responsibility is to be fixed.