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TV channels stop running all govt advertisements under protest

ISLAMABAD: The ongoing crisis the country’s media is faced with took a new turn on Saturday when private television channels suspended government of Pakistan advertisements over non-clearance of outstanding advertisement dues.

The government owed billion of rupees in outstanding dues to the channels under the head of government advertisements and campaign carried by the TV channels.

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The incumbent government after coming into power stopped the payments of the dues of the media especially electronic media which runs into billions.

The media, which was already under financial stress due to cut in advertisement revenues from the private sector, plunged into a crisis mode due to the PTI-led government’s move.

The government’s refusal to clear the dues has led the private TV channels to lay off staff, cut salaries and stop payments of salaries for months.

However, after lengthy negotiations and intervention of Director General Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) the government released a meagre portion of the dues. But it is yet to clear all the dues owed to private TV channels by various federal ministries and departments.

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After the government’s refusal to clear all the dues, the Pakistan Broadcaster Associations (PBA) has announced to suspended all advertisements of the government of Pakistan from 00:01 on December 29, 2019.

A letter written to the TV channels by the PBA states:

“We have to inform you that Government of Pakistan has failed to clear the reported dues of our members against advertisements of various Federal Ministries/Departments. Therefore, all advertisements of Government of Pakistan shall stand suspended w.w.f. 00:01 hours, Saturday, December 29, 2018 across all member broadcasters. This suspension includes all Federal Ministries and their affiliate departments, autonomous and semi-autonomous bodies.

All member broadcasters are advised not to air any advertisement of Government of Pakistan after the mentioned time through any sources whatsoever, from any channels of their network/bouquet till further communication by PBA.

Please note that as per clause 18.3 of P{BA rules and regulations governing conducts of advertising agencies/media buying houses specifically spells:  No member broadcast house will run advertisements of a suspended client/agency.MBH, or a blacklisted client. In the event of violating this rule, the broadcaster shall be liable to fine and penalty as prescribed in the above rule.

It may be noted that any client under suspension cannot shift its business or place any business directly or through any sources whatsoever to member broadcasters until it is restored.”