PM’s aide pledges to clear media’s dues

Firdous Ashiq Awan says finance adviser will meet APNS, PBA and CPNE representatives to resolve matter

​ Our Correspondent March 29, 2020

ISLAMABAD: Special Assistant to the PM on Information Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan on Saturday asked the All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS), the Pakistan Broadcasters Association (PBA) and the Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE) to nominate three representatives, who would sit down with the Adviser to the PM on Finance Hafeez Shaikh for the full payment of the media industry’s outstanding dues.

Chairing a video conference in which the information ministers of all provinces participated, Firdous said the government was aware of the problems being faced by the owners and workers of media houses.

“A segment of media workers are facing delay in the payment of their salaries,” she added.

“The issue would be resolved on war footing as the prime minister has issued directives to the finance adviser to look into the matter and facilitate the media workers through an emergency relief package.”

The PM’s aide asked provincial information ministers to take steps for the payment of outstanding dues to media houses, if any, in their respective provinces.

She said in journalists associations would be invited to the next video conference of information ministers for their input for ensuring the protection of the field staff of the media.

The SAPM called for better coordination and cooperation between the federal and provincial information ministries to further improve media strategy in the wake of coronavirus spread.

“The objective behind the conference is to formulate a coordinated media strategy to sensitise the people about the measures being taken to fight the pandemic and removing the loopholes in the strategy adopted so far.”

She said for accuracy, the government had decided to make the decisions of the National Coordination Committee public.

The SAPM said the federal government had allocated Rs50 million for highlighting the NCC decisions through advertisements in both the print and electronic media, and the provinces could also follow suit.

She said that the provincial governments should review the implementation of the decisions, measures and challenges for containing the coronavirus.

A WhatsApp group has been created at the ministerial level for sharing of accurate information among the provinces.

Firdous said the protection of media personnel was the topmost priority of her ministry and special protective kits would be provided to those visiting sensitive areas.

Three media persons in Punjab, she said, had tested positive for the coronavirus. The Press Information Department has created a coronavirus journalist app, which would enlist the affected journalists and help them in all possible ways, she added.

The SAPM said a fake news buster website had been developed by the PID so that any baseless and fake news about any province or area could be countered.

(With input from APP)

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