A meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Information and Broadcasting was held at the Parliament House under the chairmanship of Senator Faisal Javed .
The meeting was attended by Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Farrukh Habib, Senator Irfan Siddiqui, Senator Muhammad Tahir Bizenjo, Senator Kamran Michael, Senator Anwar Lal Din, Officials from Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and PTV.
At the outset PTV officials briefed the committee on the policy regarding payment of royalties to the artists. PTV officials were of the view that "There is no longer a tradition of paying royalties to artists by any media house. Payment is made to Artists all at once in the beginning and a lump sum payment is preferred by the artists themselves. Chairman Committee Senator Faisal Javed said that royalties are given to artists all over the world. Money is earned by telecasting the work of the artists again and again but nothing is given to the artist. Sharing programs on YouTube and social media also generates significant revenue. The chairman of the committee further said that the artist should be given the option in the contract to choose between royalty or lump sum payment. Senator Faisal Javed directed the PTV officials to work out a comprehensive procedure for the payment of royalties and submit a report in the next meeting of the committee. Officials from the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting briefed the committee on the welfare and process of provision of financial support to the artists. Officials informed that at present there are two funds for the welfare of artists. Upon receipt of the application for financial assistance, approval is sought from the Board and all possible assistance is provided to the applicant. Officials said that the artists are not even aware of these funds so people do not contact the relevant forums in order to avail assistance. 95% of applications are regarding health and medical treatment. With the issuance of health card by the government, the problems of health and medical treatment will be solved to a great extent. The chairman of the committee said that most of the artists are residing in Karachi and people could not avail of this facility due to the cold shoulderof Sindh government regarding issuance of health card.
Minister of State Farrukh Habib told the committee that the government was going to appoint a chairman of ITNE very soon which would help in resolving some issues. Regarding the closure of News One channel, Senator Irfan Siddiqui told the committee members that it was very unfortunate to close the channel without any inquiry and without any notice. Giving such an open leave to PEMRA is very disturbing. The media should not be suffocated like this. Chairman Committee Senator Faisal Javed expressed strong reservations over the fabricated campaign regarding Prime Minister Imran Khan and the First Lady. "There should be no comments on personal matters. Freedom of expression should not be curtailed but its misuse should also be discouraged. There are all kinds of fake news going on especially on social media which needs to be addressed. There is an urgent need. The laws of libel and defamation must be tightened. "
Senator Irfan Siddiqui, while condemning the violence perpetrated by state institutions against anchor Iqrar ul Hassan, said that no one should be allowed to treat the media people in such a manner. The chairman of the committee strongly condemned the incident. Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Farrukh Habib said that the government has suspended the officials involved in the incident and action was taken in a timely manner. The incident is being further investigated. Further action will be taken once the investigation is completed.
Officials from the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting gave a detailed briefing to the committee on the modus operandi and mandate of the External Publicity Wing of the Ministry. Officials said ministry officers are stationed in 21 countries whose job is to highlight the positive side of Pakistan around the world. The Chairman Committee directed that a detailed report on the positive coverage of Pakistan at the international level in the last three months be presented at the next meeting of the Committee. The Chairman Committee appreciated the performance of the External Publicity Wing and PTV Management.