ISLAMABAD: The Federal Government has agreed to register by default all publications of members of the Pakistan Newspaper Publishers Council (CPNE) under the new digital media policy.
The commitment was conveyed by Federal Minister of Information Chaudhry Fawad Hussain and Minister of State for Information Farrukh Habib during a meeting with a delegation from the CPNE led by its President Kazam Khan.
The delegation informed the Federal Minister of its concerns regarding the new digital media policy, including the equitable distribution of advertisements and the problems facing regional newspapers. The delegation welcomed the government’s digital media policy, but stressed that the current publications of CPNE members should be registered by default under the new policy.
Accepting the CPNE’s request, Federal Information Minister Chaudhry Fawad Hussain announced the default registration of all publications by CPNE members under the Digital Media Policy. The Minister also announced the granting of a loan of Rs 1 million to member publications of the CPNE for a transformation towards digitization.
Addressing the CPNE delegation, Chaudhry Fawad Hussain said that after the 18th Amendment, regional newspapers are a provincial topic. He said the money is transferred from the Federation to the provinces for subsequent payments to regional newspapers. However, he admitted that the regional newspapers are not getting the required facilities.
The federal minister said regional media played an important role in highlighting local issues, adding that strengthening the regional press would actually benefit Pakistan. With the advancement of information dissemination technology, the importance of regional media has also increased, he said, adding that the Ministry of Information Technology will contribute to the digitization of newspapers.
Chaudhry Fawad Hussain said during his takeover of the Ministry of Information in 2018, that he had started working on the digitization of advertisements to ensure the transparency of procedures. He said issues such as delays in release orders have been resolved, adding that linking the PID directly to the AGPR will make payments easier.
He said payments for advertisements had not been delayed until April 2020 and all payments had been settled since 2018. He said some issues regarding payments to customers would be resolved soon.
Chaudhry Fawad Hussain said the Press Information Department (PID) has started working paperless and soon the PID will be a paperless organization. Right now, the entire ad system is paperless and all ads have been digitized, he revealed.
Chaudhry Fawad Hussain said that the role of CPNE in protecting the rights of journalists is remarkable. He said the Pakistani government of Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) supported the working journalists. He said the PTI government recently passed the Protection of Journalists and Media Professionals Act 2021 to protect the rights of working journalists.
Speaking on the occasion, Minister of State for Information Farrukh Habib said that the CPNE is a representative body of journalists from across the country. He said the federal government would discuss with the relevant DGPRs the implementation of the 85/15 advertising formula in the provinces as well. He said the digital media policy will promote transparency in the industry.
Speaking on the occasion, CPNE President Kazam Khan thanked Federal Minister of Information Chaudhry Fawad Hussain and Minister of State for Information Farrukh Habib for taking concrete steps to solve the challenges facing the media industry in Pakistan.
He said the announcement of the default registration of all CPNE member publications as part of the digital media policy is a very welcome step that will particularly strengthen regional newspapers. He said that free media and the right to freedom of expression are one of the basic preconditions for transforming Pakistan into a progressive welfare state.
Other members of the CPNE delegation also thanked the ministers for listening to the problems faced by the newspaper industry and for ensuring that they were resolved as soon as possible.
Previously, Federal Minister of Information Chaudhry Fawad Hussain and Minister of State for Information Farrukh Habib congratulated the newly elected members of the CPNE.
The CPNE delegation included President Kazam Khan, Senior Vice President Ayaz Khan, Secretary General Amir Mahmood, Deputy Secretary General Yousuf Nizami, Vice President (Islamabad) Sardar Khan Niazi, Deputy Secretary (Islamabad) Shakeel Ahmed Turabi, Deputy Secretary (Punjab) Tanveer Shaukat, Vice Chairman (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) Dr. Hafiz Sanaullah Khan, Co-Secretary (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) Tahir Farooq, Co-Secretary (Sindh) Ghulam Nabi Khan Chandio and other members. Chief Information Officer (PIO) Sohail Ali Khan was also present at the meeting.