Media management in a mess at planning ministry after change of govt


ISLAMABAD: Media management at the Ministry of Planning and Development is in a mess ever since the new government took over as confusion prevails over the roles of various officials working for the media wing of the ministry, which was created by the previous government to give maximum coverage to the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project, it was learnt.

The head of development communications resigned after the change of government, as he was appointed by the previous government, leaving the department headless. Meanwhile, a public relations officer (PRO) has been transferred to the ministry to handle the media cell.

Since the development communications team members, which were being paid higher salaries as compared to other government employees of the same cadre, remained uncertain about their future, confusion prevailed over who would handle the cell in the ministry. The PRO posted at the ministry, who had previously been handling media at various ministries, was also confused about his role since the ministry already had a cell to coordinate with media, organise events and issue press releases.

Interestingly, the cell and media coordinators hired for CPEC related matters were doing the same job that a PRO does in a ministry.

For the last one month, the statements of the minister and secretary of the ministry were being shared by the development communication and PRO with media separately, while another official posted for CPEC also shares press releases with the media. The reporters concerned were also confused who actually deals with media in the ministry.

Unlike the planning ministry, important ministries like finance have a director (of BS-20) and few staff members to handle media.

According to insiders, the ministry’s officials have finally decided to divide the responsibilities of the cell and the PRO. The development communications team as per the arrangement will organise events, seminars and meetings with media persons at the ministry while the PRO will issue press releases and give coverage to the minister’s activities.

According to sources, apart from the change of government, the head of planning ministry’s media wing, Asim Khan, had resigned from his post in protest to the bureaucratic wrongdoing and mishandling of the affairs at the whims of a few top officials dealing with the mega project.

According to reports, Asim Khan, who was also the official spokesman of the ministry, resigned on September 6 in protest against the manner in which Shahid Zia Cheema, a grade-20 officer of the ministry was removed.