The HD PTV will be launched soon by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.
Senator Faisal Javed, the chairman of the Senate Standing Committee on Information and Broadcasting, called a meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Information and Broadcasting at Parliament House on Monday.
The panel examined a compliance report on the committee’s previous meeting on July 8 at PTV’s headquarters in Islamabad, as well as one for the past three years (2018-2021).
The committee’s Chairman welcomed everyone to the meeting and introduced the members of the committee.
He and the other members expressed their discontent with the late delivery of the working documents at the start of the meeting, and he questioned officials from the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting about it.
The authorities were unable to provide a definitive response, and the Chairman noted that the ministry’s delays in providing working papers had become commonplace. He answered, “It’s past time for this matter to be settled.”
The committee members agreed with his advice and stated that such wasteful labour wastes their time and energy.
The Chairman then warned the concerned officials to ensure the timely dispatch of the working papers the next time, otherwise serious action would be taken against them.
The recommendations of the committee that had been given on 8 July were discussed in detail, and the officials of the ministry briefed the committee about the details of the Land and Buildings under the administration of the PTV.
Chairman Javed emphasised the importance of the committee being briefed on the utilisation plan for such a large public property. He pointed out that such structures are funded by taxpayers, and it is their moral responsibility to ensure that they be used properly in Pakistan’s national interest. He also underlined the need for the land requisition to prevent the misappropriation of government funds.
If this is not possible, he suggests that an office be rented or purchased in Islamabad’s Blue Area as office space for PTV. He went on to say that the current property may be used for any other public good, such as the usage of a cutting-edge facility.
The committee was briefed by ministry officials that the government is developing an Assets Management Authority to assess the use of national assets.
The cabinet has also given its approval to this proposal, and Chairman Javed has requested a report on a specific plan for the use of the PTV and Radio facilities for further consideration and recommendations.
Senator Irfan Siddiqui raised the issue of overstaffing in the PTVC during a lengthy discussion of the PTVC workers’ appointment details. He expressed his dissatisfaction with the supplied report’s omission of the employees’ identities.
Senator Siddiqui questioned why 14 new producers were appointed since PTV currently has 81 producers, and ministry officials assured him that an updated report on personnel recruiting will be submitted.
The authorities failed to justify the overhiring, telling the committee that, unlike in the private sector, 50 percent of PTV’s employees is clerical, despite the fact that just three percent of the staff in the transmission department is clerical.
They informed the committee that an international corporation will be revamping the HR department soon, which will help PTV’s overstaffing problem.
The Chairman inquired about the new board of the PTVC, and was told by the Ministry that a new seven-member board has been constituted with no private members in it.
He also asked about what the law is on the composition of the board without members from the private sector. The ministry replied that one-third of its members from the private sector is required to complete it but the appointment of the seven members makes it operational.
A lengthy discussion on the Senate’s recommendations for the live airing of Senate proceedings on PTV Parliament was held, and Chairman Javed asked about the telecasting of the Senate session in case simultaneous sessions of both the Houses take place. The ministry responded that in the case of simultaneous sessions, the proceedings of the National Assembly are aired live while the Senate session is broadcast live on the PTV Parliament channel on YouTube.
The Chairman enquired about the quality of the proceedings broadcast on YouTube, and whether they are good enough to be picked up by a private channel for broadcast. He also requested that the ministry show him a demonstration of Senate proceedings on YouTube in order to assess the quality, and he advised that the standard operating procedures (SOPs) for the airing of simultaneous proceedings be revised.
PTV’s officials informed the committee that a PC-1 for an exclusive new channel for the coverage of the Parliament has been approved on a budget of more than one billion.
The committee was informed by ministry officials that the introduction of HD PTV is approaching. Senator Javed added that the committee should be invited to the HD PTV inauguration as well because it was instrumental in making the project possible.
He stressed that the content of today’s drama industry is producing sadness, mental illness, and obsessions among young people, which is leading to a rise in domestic violence and intolerance in society.
The Chairman and members of the committee held the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, as well as the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA), accountable for the content of entertainment channels, which they said needed to be closely monitored in order to spread positivity and inspiration among the youth.
Senator Siddiqui stressed the production of interactive communicative messages to attract the interest of the viewers, and the function of PTV in broadcasting various public service messages was also debated. Chairman Javed directed the broadcasting of public service announcements during prime time, emphasising the importance of public service announcements concerning child abuse.
Senators Syed Ali Zafar, Muhammad Tahir Bizinjo, Aon Abbas, Anwar Lal Dean, Senator Mustafa Nawaz Khokar, Umer Farooq, and Irfan Ul Haque Siddique were present at the meeting. Officials from the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, PTV, PEMRA, and all connected departments were present.