Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry said on Monday that a proposal has been finalised that seeks to charge private television channels for a live telecast of the Parliament proceedings aired on the state-run Pakistan Television (PTV), reported APP.
The proposal is aimed at making the PTV sustainable through income generation, Fawad told a meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Information and Broadcasting, presided over by Senator Faisal Javed Khan.
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Fawad cited the example of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) that charges for its licence. According to the BBC website, a standard TV licence is currently £159.
“Some channels of PTV are already operational under public-private partnership and producing positive results,” he said, citing the example of PTV Home that generated a profit of over Rs1 billion by outsourcing 26 dramas that were purchased at an amount of over Rs180 million, according to the information minister.
About PTV Sports, Fawad said it was earning up to Rs500 million per year before opting for the public-private partnership. “The profit this year reached Rs800 million after the partnership.”
“PTV Sports’ stream would be transformed into HD within the next three months,” he added.
To a query, the minister said PTV Parliament would continue showing proceedings if both houses were in session by shifting live streaming of one of them to the YouTube channel.
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A dedicated channel of PTV for kids would also be launched soon, he said.
“Within the next six to eight months, a sustainable model of human resource management would be in place in the PTV,” he said, adding the management was striving to hire highly qualified professionals.
The minister said PTV had earned a profit amounting to Rs1.3 billion this year.
Meanwhile, Fawad said PTV was giving due coverage to opposition leaders of both the houses including Shehbaz Sharif, a statement that came in response to criticism that the government was using PTV to its advantage by not covering the opposition.
About the proposal of increasing the TV fee from Rs35 to Rs100, the minister said he himself had rejected the idea of further burdening the taxpayers. “I want the channel to run affairs on its own,” he added.
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In case of waiver of the TV fee, he said the streaming of PTV channels in seven languages might come to halt.
Meanwhile, the minister urged opposition parties to evolve consensus on tightening media laws so that fake news could be dealt with in an effective way. “The maximum propaganda of fake news is against politicians, bureaucrats, and businessmen,” he added.