Media heads urge govt to clear dues


Leading media figures and office bearers of the All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS) have urged the government to expedite payment of arrears to the advertising agencies on account of advertisements in the print media to avoid a crisis in the industry.
The approved funds should not be allowed to lapse and the advertising agencies must be paid according to the approved criteria before the end of the current financial year on June 30, said Pakistan Today Editor Arif Nizami. He said it had been a principled stance of the APNS that the advertising agencies as well as publications, irrespective of their size, must be paid their dues on pro-rata basis with all the precautions. APNS Vice-President Umar Shami asked the government to settle the bills of the advertising agencies worth millions of rupees stuck up with the government since the year 2000. He requested the government as well as the opposition to help the media industry in the matter to save it from an imminent crisis. The government kept these bills pending for years while approved amount lapsed, he added. Shami was thankful to Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani for approving the funds and appreciated the criteria fixed by the Information Ministry. He appealed to the government to release the funds according to the PM’s approval and the approved criteria. It is pertinent to note that the prime minister had approved an amount of over Rs 900 million some three years back against the piled up bills. But the payments to electronic media were later excluded and only a part of the money was disbursed while the remaining amount lapsed.