LAHORE: Federal Ministry of Information has made drastic cut in the commercial rates being paid to the private television channels for all federal, provincial, autonomous bodies and public sector organisations.
The letter issued by the ministry says the rates have been slashed as the government ‘intends to support the electronic media industry and initiate electronic media campaign’ which is not possible on the existing rates.
The media outlets have raised concerns over the sudden government move in a situation when a number of media houses are facing financial crunch and making efforts for their survival.
They reminded that the government had previously assured to take them on board before taking any decision on commercial rates for the official, advertisements which count for one of the major means to sustain the private TV channels.
But the government has unilaterally taken the decision without taking the media houses into confidence.
Even about the newly revised rates, which will be effective from December 27, a discrimination has been shown as Geo TV, which leads in viewership rating, has been given less rates for airing per 60-second commercial from others, like ARY TV.
Chairman, Pakistan Broadcasters Association, Shakeel Masud Hussain, has rejected the revised rates for the official advertisements and says, it will amount to crushing the private TV channels after they are already facing hard time.
Mr Hussain said they have raised their concerns with the Secretary Information and want reversal of the decision.
The secretary is due to meet his body in Karachi on Wednesday next to hold discussion on the issue, he added.
The chairman said that the government advertisements have already shrunk and the new commercial rates will hit the TV channels even badly. The letter of the Information Ministry says the existing rates are ‘unfair and exorbitant’ and they have been cut down after due deliberations and considerations.
Source : The Nation