A meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Information and Broadcasting was held under the Chairmanship of Senator Faisal Javed here at Parliament House today.
Meeting commenced with consideration of compliance report on the recommendations made by the Committee in its meeting held on 2“August, 2021.
Committee had directed PTVC to provide an optimization plan of lands and buildings under its administrative control, along with the optimization plan of lands and buildings under administrative control of Radio Pakistan. Committee members were informed by officials that PTVC is in process of revaluation of its Lands & Buildings scattered all over the Country. It is a gigantic task and will be completed through third party for which the tender has been issued. As soon as the revaluation process is finalized, the next phase regarding optimization and utilization plan of these lands and buildings will be submitted to Senate Standing Committee as directed.
Committee in its previous meeting had sought province-wise & category-wise lists of all contractual employees recruited by the PTVC in last five years, along with their pay structures since recruitment to date. List provided by PTVC came under consideration during the meeting. Senator Irfan ul Haq Siddiqui had pointed out that there seems to be great disparity between salary packages of employees. He further added that “There are some employees whose salary has increased in last five years and yet there are some who are still getting the same salary throughout the same period without any increment. What sort of system is being followed by PTVC. Daily wage workers are being discriminated against” He further suggested that daily wagers should at least be given a contractual job. Replying to which Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry said that, PTVC provides equal opportunity to talented candidates and recruits according to the capacity and need from time to time on merit basis. Most of the appointments are of dependents of deceased employees including widows/children on case to case basis and batches against quota. Furthermore, in order to have competitive advantage over other media organizations, PTVC hired professionals including anchors to sustain its credibility and viewership of the people. Fawad Chaudhary lamented the role of previous governments in hiring unnecessary staff on political basis. “We have introduced a system of public private partnership leaving limited liability on part of the government. We are going to upgrade PTV Sports transmission to HD quality” Informed Minister for Information and Broadcasting. He further added that HRM is a key area and this section should be allowed to make policies without any interference from outside. It should be left to the professionals to decide what is best for the organization. We have hired a top HR firm in order frame policies in best interest of the state media.
Chairman Committee Senator Faisal Javed directed the PTVC officials to rationalize the HR policies. “We should not concentrate on whatever wrong has been done in the past”. Chairman Committee pointed out that there seems to be disparity in salary structure and a proper system should be developed for the same. Chairman Committee further directed PTVC officials to provide a complete list of employees hired from 2008 onwards.
Minister for Information and Broadcasting informed the committee members that Ministry intends to run PTV Parliament live broadcast on commercial basis. Private TV channels should pay for the live feed provided by PTVC.
Federal Minister for Information and broadcasting Fawad Hussain Chaudhary had given a detailed briefing on proposed Pakistan Media Development Authority (PMDA) to the committee in its previous meeting.
Chairman Committee inquired about the developments regarding the proposed authority. Fawad Hussain Chaudhary informed the Committee that draft Bill for PMDA will be finalized in consultation with all the stakeholders.
Chairman Committee Senator Faisal Javed remarked that “We will discuss and give feedback once draft of PMDA is shared with the committee”.
Committee proceedings moved on for Further Consideration of Bill titled “The Right of Access to Information (Amendment) Bill 2020”, referred by the House on 25th of January, 2021. Chairman committee lamented the absence of the movers of the said Bill. Discussion on the proposed amendments was deferred to be taken up in the next committee meeting.
Issue of delivering public service messages through mass media was also discussed. PTVC officials informed the committee that PSM messages are being broadcasted regularly on PTV. Chairman Committee questioned as to why private TV channels are not running public services messages during prime time. “Dedicating at least 10% of advertising airtime is part of licensing agreement with private TV channels’. Chairman Committee directed to seek a comprehensive report from PEMRA on matter and summon Pakistan Broadcasting Association (PBA) in the next meeting of the committee.
Committee meeting was attended by Senators, Irfan ul Haque Siddiqui, Aon Abbas Buppi, Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar, Anwar Lal Dean, Naseema Ehsan, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhary, officials from Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and PTVC.