Media should project economic growth, as its interests linked with economy: Fawad

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Addressing the closing session of the Council of Pakistan Newspapers Editors (CPNE) seminar on ” Media and Democracy: Towards free, independent and sustainable media in Pakistan”, he said that national media should not fall prey to negative western narrative on China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPNE), which was set to become backbone of national economy.

Chaudhry Fawad said that independent and sustainable media was an important pillar of the state and the government was desirous of its growth.

The minister said that present advertising budget had reached Rs 86 billion and with projected growth rate of 5 to 7 pc during PTI government in coming years, advertisement budget would witness reasonable boost . He said that the future of media in Pakistan was not bleak, but there was need to changing times. He clarified that talking about new developments in technology did not mean discouraging the media.

He said that in the current month advertisements worth Rs 300 to 350 million were being issued to print media only.

He further expressed that after the passage of 18th Amendment, about 58 revenue of the country had been shifted to provinces, and now it was their responsibility to cater to the needs of regional media.

He said that presently about Rs 2.6 billion advertisements were going to digital media and the amount would likely to reach Rs 7 billion in five years.

He called for regularization of advertisement of digital media as foreign exchange was going abroad via this advertisement. He said there was need to adopt to new technologies so that they should prove beneficial to the country.

The government, he said, was standing by the print media in overcoming the present crisis but the media houses had to find a long term solution to this issue. He suggested that the CPNE should conduct a study about the reasons behind the present crisis in print media so that such situations could be avoided in future.

He stated that foreign investment worth billions of Dollars was coming to Pakistan but national media was not projecting it properly. Citing the example Saudi Arabia plan to make biggest investment in the region by building third largest oil refinery of the world in Pakistan, he said the local media has not highlight this landmark project.

He said that Pakistan was relaxing visa regime for citizens of 66 countries of the world to promote tourism in the country. He further said that cultural activities in Pakistan would attract multi-national companies’ investment in Pakistan and it was responsibility of the local media to projects such events.

APP/Zaheer/Shahzaib

VNS, Islamabad