NCOC may announce reopening of cinemas from June 30: Fawad

Announces cable channels' digitalisation; says subscription model to allow buying, selling of broadcast content


News Desk June 15, 2021
Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry addressing a presser in Islamabad on June 15, 2021. SCREENGRAB

ISLAMABAD:

Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry informed on Tuesday that the National Command and Operations Centre (NCOC) might announce reopening of cinemas from June 30 considering the improvement in the Covid-19 positivity ratio in the country.

"Have spoken to the NCOC and Asad Umar has promised that cinemas will be reopened by June 30. However, a final decision will be taken by the NCOC," he clarified.

The minister's remarks came as he briefed the media following the federal cabinet's meeting held earlier.

He also announced that the government had decided to introduce a national digital cable policy.

"Moving our cable channels from the existing analog to the digital mode will ensure transparency in the ratings.

Fawad added that the move will also help increase the number of channels to up to 900 to 950, such as those related to science, technology and history.

Moreover, he maintained, the channels will be run on the subscription model to create a futuristic media scene.

"Cable operators will have the right to buy content while youth will be able to sell their content to them," the information minister said, adding that this will help create a new content industry.

He observed that the step will also help incentivise the channels, as well as those running YouTube channels, to sell their content.

EVMs

The minister further stated that the government wanted to put the electronic voting machines [EVMs] to use as early as possible.

Read No bases for US, no business with India: Fawad

"We want to enable the use of EVMs by as early as the next by-elections," he said. Fawad stated that the machines have been developed as per the aspirations of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

He added that the government considered overseas Pakistanis as a vital component [of the national mainstream], while referring to granting the expatriates the right to vote.

Monitoring mechanism for projects

"We are initiating a third-party evaluation mechanism for the PSDP [Public Sector Development Programme] projects."

"The mechanism will be applicable to the projects in the Centre as well as the provinces," he said, adding that the purpose of the move was to identify exactly where the public money was being spent.

"It is also aimed at ensuring transparency," Fawad maintained.

Shehbaz Sharif's case

According to Fawad, the entire nation was looking at the matter of accountability as if it was some kind of a joke.

“We request the judiciary to decide Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shehbaz Sharif's case on a day-to-day basis."

"The schedule for hearing of cases isn't issued despite the passage of up to six months," he added.

Embassies' staff

"The cabinet has given the nod to recall two officers working at Pakistani embassies abroad in view of overseas Pakistanis’ complaints."

"We have linked the continuation of services of the staff with the sentiments of the people. Officers facing complaints of maltreatment will be recalled back to the country," the information minister said.

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