Ads to news channels: Spending of federal govt since 2013 released

The spending details of the federal government for running advertisement campaigns via TV channels since 2013 were released.

ISLAMABAD: The spending details of the federal government for running advertisement campaigns via TV channels excluding print media i.e. newspapers and magazines since 2013 were released.

According to the data, over Rs5.82 billion were spent on government ads on TV channels from 2013 to 2018 by the federal government which did not include ads to the newspapers and magazines. The TV channels earned over Rs2.6 billion from 2018 to this year in terms of government ads, whereas, the spendings on advertisements in the print media were separate.

The TV channels of media houses earned an overall Rs8.429 billion (Rs8,429,651,711) through government ads over nine years.

At the same time, the media houses dismissed thousands of journalists and media workers from their jobs, cut their salaries by half and deprived the media workers of basic necessities like medical facilities by pretending to be financial problems and losses. Ex-employees have been deprived of their dues in terms of salaries and other allowances for many years. During these years, many journalists and media workers left this world due to mental stress or committed suicides.

The details were presented in a meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Information and Broadcasting held in Islamabad under the chairmanship of Senator Faisal Javed in which the issue of distributing advertisements to private TV channels was discussed. On the occasion, the Information Ministry officials presented the statistics from 2013 to 2018 and from 2018 to April 2022.

The meeting was told that from 2013 to 2018, a huge amount of money was paid to the TV channels in the form of government advertisements. In total, over Rs5.82 billion was disbursed to the electronic media excluding the spendings on ads published in the print media.

Jang Group received the highest number of advertisements, i.e. Rs62.8 million from 2013 to 2018 (in addition to payments to subsidiaries of the media house), whereas, ARY News received government advertisements worth Rs85 million during the same period.

The earnings of other TV channels included Rs565 million to Dunya News, Rs500 million to Express News, Rs450 million to AbbTakk News, Rs400 million to Capital TV, Rs270 million to Dawn TV, Rs199 million to Rose TV, Rs210 million to PTV, Rs190 million to Aaj TV, Rs180 million to Samaa TV, Rs160 million to Waqt TV, Rs150 million to NewsOne, Rs130 million to 92 News, Rs120 million to ATV, Rs110 million to Neo News, Rs110 million to Khyber TV. 100 million to KTN, Rs70 million to Channel 24 News.

PTI govt’s spending on ads

To media channels (excluding print media, their advertising value was much higher than electronic media), the details of the amount paid by the previous PTI government for advertisements during the four years from 2018 to April this year were also presented in the Senate body.

Geo News channel received Rs21.3m, ARY News got Rs21.8m, Dunya News got Rs21.9m, Express Group got Rs21.1m, Capital TV got Rs11.7m, Dawn News got Rs16.2m, PTV got Rs19.6m, Aaj TV got Rs15.1m , Samaa TV got Rs18.9m, NewsOne got Rs11.3m, Neo News got Rs90m, Khyber TV got Rs80m, KTN got Rs55m and Channel 24 News got Rs58m.

The Chairman Committee inquired as to why the viewership of regional channels is not taken into account in distribution of government advertisements. The government should also take care of these regional channels. Senator Maula Bakhsh Chandio said that the channels of Sindh also do not get a share.

Information and Broadcasting Department officials told the committee that Jio received Rs620 million and ARY Rs85 million from 2013 to 2018.

On which the Senate body’s chairman inquired that both the private news channels come under the same category but why there is so much difference in their rates and advertisements? The PID officials replied that there was no such classification when the advertisements were given.

Chairman Faisal Javed said that in the past, there was a lot of discrepancy regarding the distribution of advertisements, but this should not happen in the future, the procedure should be improved.

The chairman committee also directed the concerned authorities to get the statistics from the departments related to advertisements from 2008 to 2013 and submit them to the committee.

The committee has sought a report from PTV authorities within 7 days on live broadcasting of the press conference based on alleged religious hatred of Federal Minister Javed Latif, while it rejected the response of the PTV officials regarding not telecasting the oath-taking ceremony of Punjab chief minister live on the channel.

In the Standing Committee meeting, the discussion on the Journalists Protection Amendment Bill 2022 presented by Senator Salim Mandiwala was postponed due to the stimulus bill.

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