Senate Standing Committee on Information and Broadcasting in its meeting has recommended that since child abuse is a recurring phenomenon in society at present and needs immediate and coordinate attention, public service messages with continuity should be prepared and run on PTV as well as private channels. The Committee chairman observed that often work is going on corresponding to current issues prevailing in society as is the case with the issue of child abuse. Zainab Alert bill after having been passed by the Senate is in Senate Committee at present and effective campaign can be made on highlighting the issue to spread awareness as well as create deterrence.
The meeting was held under the chairmanship of Senator Faisal Javed Khan and was attended among others by Senators Syed Sabir Shah, Rukhsana Zuberi, Pervaiz Rasheed, Sajjad Turi, Special Assistant to Prime Minister Dr. Firdous Ashiq Awan, Chairman PEMRA, Chairman PTV, Managing Director PTV and representatives of journalists.
The Committee discussed in detail the matter of revamping of PTV Network. The matters of importance of public service messages, effective use of PTV Parliament, maintenance of archives by PTV and launching digital media platforms at a wide scale were also discussed. The Committee also highlighted the issues of unavailability of PTV Sports in certain areas, lack of graphic quality and unchecked standards of advertisements.
The matter of non-payment of salaries to working journalists by many private media houses for the last many months was discussed in the House and referred to the Committee for consideration and report to the House. The Committee recommended that PEMRA should revisit their law and suggest to the Committee what amendments are needed in order to make a mechanism that licences of private media are linked with timely payment of salaries and proper service agreements and service structures. The Committee recommended to the government to condition payment of upcoming government campaigns to private media houses with payment of all pending payment to staff. The Committee decided to call hear the PBA, SECP with data as to how many journalists are registered with them and what percentage of staff have pending payments of salaries.
The Special Assistant told the committee that a total of 87 crore has already been paid to media houses in pending payments and 99 crore is pending. The Committee directed that this payment should be linked to payment of pending salaries of journalists.