Pakistan Broadcasters Association (PBA) must be the only Advisor to Prime Minister. No Individuals as Media Advisors

The role of traditional media has changed dramatically in the age of the internet-driven, 24-hour news cycle and the proliferation of social media. Today, the term “media” is used and abused, and it can mean different things to different people. Media plays the role of a gatekeeper, scorekeeper, and a watchdog. Media is a mirror of society and plays an outstanding role in strengthening it.
During the last few months we were discussing a partial ban on Government Advertisement Budget estimated Rs1 Billion Per Annum distributed among the TV Channels & Print Media in Pakistan. With overall decline in Pakistan’s economy, news channel business has gone down by 18% due to decrease in government spending, similarly the corporate sector advertising also suffered a 17-22% decrease due to the economic slowdown. Therefore, with direct effect on overall TV Industry most channels have had to reduce cost of running their Channels, which has led to a significant number of lay-offs.
While the industry was facing severe financial crises, Government was nominating Media Advisors which includes the advertising veteran of Pakistan, Taher A. Khan Founder and Chairman of the Interflow Group. He started the advertising agency called Interflow Communications in 1983. Today, almost after three decades, the Interflow Group has evolved into a communications and media force in Pakistan, with 14 companies providing services on a 360 degree Platform.
Similarly another name was added in the Media Advisors list & this time Yousaf Baig Mirza was inducted in PM Team as special assistant to PM. Yousaf Baig Mirza has a long experience in the media industry and has held top positions in the state-run TV and different private TV channels. His precise designation is the special assistant on media affairs.
It is not out of place to mention here that with Tahir A.Khan, Yousuf Bag Mirza, Iftikhar Durrani & Federal Minister for Information we were expecting some serious & Productive changes in the overall strategy towards the betterment of Pakistan Media Industry but we ended up with same old results with unexpected removal of Advisors & Federal Minister for Information during last few months.
Recently Tahir A. Khan has been dismissed from his post, sacked by Prime Minister Imran Khan, following the controversial video leak against the chairman NAB on his News Channel. Now the question which we have in our mind is who will be the next victim as the removal of Tahir A. Khan has left us with some serious questions towards CONFLICT OF INTEREST as Yousuf Baig Mirza Sahib is also partially linked with Channels either as Consultant or Partner.
In view of above facts & realities we strongly recommend Pakistan Broadcasters Association to play its role in nominating the Advisors to PM from its Association as PBA is the only authorized & legitimate body representing Pakistan Media Industry. For the very first time Pakistan Broadcasters Association unanimously elected a Non-Owner Director as its Chairman. Newly elected Chairman Mr.Shakeel Masud Hussain CEO of Dawn Media Group which shows the transparency & discipline within PBA.
PBA is fully aware of the issues & problems pertaining to the Advertising Industry, content related issues & issues related to NEWS & its sensor as the PBA is consist of 100% representation from the Industry through the Channel owners as members & Directors Board of Directors. Similarly, the government addressed PBA on behalf of all TV channels; they did not reach out to channels individually. PBA is the representative of all the TV Channels.
PBA must be the Advisor to Government of Pakistan or the PM & must be represented through their designated members for the Policy making & for the resolution of any conflict between the Government & the particular Channel rather than the appointment of any individual irrespective of its experience or background in Media Industry. Also the inconsistencies where some channels are being favored above others in terms of revenue spend will also get standardized with PBA as the Advisor.
Government has all the rights to appoint a Political Figure as Media Advisor but must avoid appointing any individual from the Media Industry without the consent of PBA.

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