ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday directed the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to take measures for payment of arrears to the print and electronic media before Eidul Fitr.
Presiding over a meeting held here to discuss the payment of dues to print and electronic media, the prime minister asked the information ministry to hold consultations with the Pakistan Broadcasters’ Association (PBA) and the All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS) on the subject.
The meeting was attended by Special Assistant to the PM on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan, SAPM on Media Affairs Yousuf Baig Mirza, Punjab Minister for Information Syed Sumsam Ali Bukhari, Senator Faisal Javed and secretary to the prime minister, a PM Office statement said.
Dr Awan apprised the prime minister about the issues pertaining to the media industry. The meeting also discussed in detail matters related to the PBA and APNS. The prime minister directed Dr Awan to personally monitor the process.
He said the government fully believed in the constitutional and fundamental right of freedom of speech. The promotion of free and responsible journalism was inevitable for strengthening democracy, he added.
Meanwhile, the APNS expressed profound gratitude to the prime minister for his directives to clear the long outstanding dues of the media before Eid.
APNS president Hameed Haroon and secretary general Sarmad Ali said that the PM’s directives to his media team would be wholeheartedly welcomed by not only media owners but also media workers.
The APNS office-bearers pointed out that during his meeting with the APNS delegation in October the prime minister had held out the assurance that his government would clear the advertising dues of the media but the assurance could not be implemented by the ministries concerned.
The APNS appreciated that the PM’s present media team is aware of the gravity of the financial crisis of the media industry and has suggested remedial measures. The gesture of the prime minister would help the media industry brave the acute financial crisis and come forward to take active part in the development of Naya Pakistan.
This bailout package will strengthen the government-media relations in the interests of the country, they said. The APNS office-bearers expressed the hope that all outstanding dues would be cleared in one go before Eid and assured that the media owners would clear their liabilities and salaries of their employees on receipt of payment.