ISLAMABAD (INP): Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting, Firdous Ashiq Awan has said that the Ministry of Information has no dues remaining in term of advertisement as the government has released 1.2 billion rupees to media outlets in last nine months.

While briefing the Senate Standing Committee for Information and Broadcasting here on Thursday, Firdous Ashiq Awan said, “Although, we are not responsible for the ads that were broadcasted and published against us.”

Prime Minister has instructed to release the payments of those ads too, she added.

Dr Firdous further stated that the federal government is going to clear other dues to media outlets and an agreement was made with media outlets for the process of clearance.

She said that Punjab province is due to pay dues of Rs570 million to print and electronic media, whereas, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) is due to pay Rs100 million. “Private companies pay off 85 per cent share of the advertisements while the government’s part is up to 10-15 per cent,” she maintained.

“Media houses generate its revenue primarily through private sector which goes up to 85 per cent,” Awan said.

The information adviser said that Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) cannot play any role in the payment of salaries of media workers.

Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) Senator Pervaiz Rasheed criticized Awan, saying that the stance and policies of the present government are not yet cleared. He said, “There seriousness can be seen as neither an appointment is made for the position of neither information minister nor state minister.”

The PML-N Senator urged Prime Minister Imran Khan to appoint a suitable person as the information minister. He said that the media crisis is basically linked with the economic crisis of the country which reduces the purchase power of the nationals.

To this, Awan said, “We are not bringing Ata-ul-Haq Qasmi at the state television like previous government as the present rulers did not priorities rewarding blue-eyed persons in the national institutions.”

She clarified that the state and the government’s rhetoric are same to put national interests on top and then public interests.