Senate Standing Committee on Information and Broadcasting in its meeting held at the Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation Headquarters has taken strong notice of unavailability of clear transmission of its medium wave station at 585 KH in different parts of the country. Chairman Committee Senator Faisal Javed Khan remarked that transmission of VOA and other broadcasters can be heard clearly despite the fact that they are operating outside Pakistan.
The meeting was held under the chairmanship of Senator Faisal Javed Khan and was attended among others by Senators Tahir Bizenjo, Syed Sabir Shah , Anwarul Haq Kakar , Moulana Atta ur Rehman, Rubina Khalid, Sajjad Turi, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Dr. Firdous Ashiq Awan, Secretary Information and Broadcasting, DG Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation and senior officials from the Corporation. The committee was told that the medium wave transmission of Radio Pakistan reaches every nook and cover of the country but transmission is occasionally interrupted or unclear because the transmitters and other equipment is nearly 40 to 60 years old and has completed its age.
The same reason also results in closing transmission for 2 hours daily to avoid the equipment getting heated up. Members of the committee stressed upon improving the transmission on and sought a comprehensive report on the reasons of interruptions thereof.
The Committee discussed in detail matters related to outstanding commutation dues to be paid to pensioners and the corporation being heavily overstaffed. Members of the Committee were of the view that when the corporation is going in loss there is no rationale behind having 2451 employees. The committee was told that PBC has to pay 167 million per month as salaries, pensions and commutations but it has a budget of 127 million per month which is causing the delay. Chairman Committee observed that PBC is in dire need of / a well thought out business plan under which it can operate efficiently. PBC was directed to come up with rationale of its administrative and financial conditions as well as a proposal to turn the corporation into a profitable organization.
While discussing the changing dynamics of the present age, it was decided that the PBC Act also needs to be looked into again. The Committee decided to review the law and directed the ministry to come up with proposed amendments: removing obsolete features and including new provisions for the digital age. The matters of having a sound marketing strategy, improving cricket commentary standard, introducing regular Quranic pronunciation programs, training of upcoming talent, having Parliamentary representation on the Board of Directors were also discussed.
The Committee was told that the PBC is making a work plan to shift from analog to digital system and the requisite funding needed for the complete overhaul is 4 billion rupees. The committee appreciated the proposal and assured of its support in carrying out this major transformation in the System.