Reflecting the overall deterioration of almost all spheres of life in Pakistan, the state of media is no exemption and the Journalist Community is battling the severe financial issues for the last few years.
Also regrettably the issues being faced by the Journalist Community are multifaceted as not only their freedom of expression is merely illusory but their life and financial security remain at stake all the time as well.
In March 2023, the Senate was told that 42 journalists were murdered across Pakistan in the last four years, presenting a gloomy state of journalists’ security in the Country.
In terms of financial bars, not a single penny has been paid to news agency since the last five years. In the absence of any financial assistance from the government, the news agencies – which are thriving to promote the Country’s soft image across the globe – have been pushed against the wall and now they are fighting for their survival.
However, yet the entire media industry is not subject to face such inconducive environment. Most of the TV Channels mainly owned by non-journalist figures are still enjoying the blessing of the government with the release of hefty amounts to them.
Irrespective of that, employees of maintain stream TV Channels i.e., Geo News are in protest against the nonpayment of their salaries.
Employees at the Geo News Room in Islamabad are demanding their right to overdue increments in the face of inflation, timely payment of salaries, as well as access to a provident fund and gratuity pic.twitter.com/1520IVkKVS
— Siasat.pk (@siasatpk) March 16, 2023
Recently, the federal government enhanced the per minute rate of the advertisements for TV Channels up to 50 percent, “realizing the high cost of production and prevailing inflationary circumstances and as report received from PEMRA”.
As per the details, the per minute government advertisement rate for TV Channel placed in Category-I has been enhanced from the existing Rs 145,000 to Rs 155,000, for Category-II from Rs 125,000 to Rs 145,000, for Category-III from Rs 100,000 to Rs 125,000, for Category-IV from Rs 75,000 to Rs 100,000 and for Category-V per minute government advertisement rate has been enhanced from the existing Rs 50,000 to Rs 75,000.
The analysts privy to the situation are of the view that unfortunately all resources are being utilized for TV Channels only. They said that the annual maximum grant for a news agency is Rs 1 million to Rs 1.5 million whereas one TV Channel receive this amount from the government in merely 5 to 10 days.
They demanded the government to ensure the fair distribution of financial resources to all media streams. They also appealed to the government to persuade the media owners to pay the salaries to their employees on time and initiate steps to address their grievances.