English language PTV World costing govt Rs105 million a year

Auditors find that the channel incurred a loss of over Rs350 million from 2013 to June 2015

Arsalan Altaf September 16, 2017
The state broadcaster had incurred more than Rs350 million in losses to continue operating its English-language TV channel, an audit states. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: PTV World, the state-run English language TV channel, has been unable to break even since its launch in 2013 and has incurred a loss of more than Rs350 million as of June 2015, auditors have found.

Most of PTV World’s operational costs are being met through an annual grant of Rs105 million by the government since the channel is not generating revenue through its advertisements.

“Due to limited viewership in Pakistan, the revenue generation of PTV World at present is zero,” says the latest audit report by the auditor general of Pakistan. The report adds that without the recurring annual grant, the channel cannot continue its broadcast.

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During the audit of PTV’s account for fiscal year 2015-16, the auditors found that the Ministry of Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage released an amount of Rs105 million for PTV World’s operational expenses every year.

They further pointed out that the state broadcaster had incurred more than Rs350 million in losses to continue operating its English-language TV channel in the almost three years after PTV World’s launch.

“Since launch of PTV World, PTV incurred Rs356.117 million up till June 30, 2015, on its operation in spite of the fact that the President of Pakistan assured in his inaugural speech for financial grant to PTVC [Pakistan Television Corporation] to meet out the expenses incurred and required on account of its running/operation,” the audit report stated.

The audit has objected to the release of funds by the ministry to PTV World and the ministry’s involvement in the channel’s launch. “The audit is of the view that the launching of a channel was not covered in the business assigned to the ministry, nor the approval of the competent authority obtained, therefore the expenditure is held irregular and unauthorised,” it said.

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In its response to the audit’s objections, the PTV management argued that PTV World was launched on the ‘verbal directives’ of the President of Pakistan to counter the country’s misrepresentation by the foreign media and project its soft image in the international community – an objective the PTV management said was being effectively achieved.

However, it was observed in the audit that PTV’s reply was not supported with the documented directives of the president to set up the channel and meet its operational expenses through government grant.

It recommended an inquiry to fix responsibility for irregular release of funds.

“The audit recommends that responsibility may be fixed for launching [the channel] and releasing the funds to PTV without the approval of the competent forum,” it concluded.


scotchpak | 4 years ago | Reply get what you pay for
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