Islamabad: Documents in possession of saach.tv reveal that the advertisements given to news channels by Federal and Sindh governments did not follow any logic of ratings nor any principle of transparency in dispensing tax-payers’ money.
The documents corroborate claims that certain channels received advertisement revenue from the government that was disproportionate to their viewership share, raising serious questions about the motives for dolling out arbitrary disbursements.
Dunya TV holds 12% viewership share in the news genre, but 17% advertisements were allocated for it by the government. In rupee terms, this amounted to 360 million.
Likewise, KTN without a known share in viewership got 5% advertisements. This meant 120 million rupees.
City 42, which is a metropolitan channel in PML-N’s stronghold Lahore and is little known out of this town, claims 1% share in viewership, but startlingly received 11% advertisements. In other words, it got 220 million rupees through government advertisements.
Punjab TV, Business Plus, Royal News, and Value TV have no viewership share, but enjoy 5%, 4%, 3%, and 3% share of government advertisement revenue, respectively.
On the flip side, SAMAA and CNBC enjoy 16% viewership share, but only 6% advertisement share.
Two days ago, leader of the opposition in National Assembly, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan accused the government of paying huge amounts of money from secret funds to certain channels and anchors as part of what he termed ‘pre-poll rigging.’
He also promised to put out more precise details that will substantiate his charge.
But Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira yesterday counter-accused Chaudhry Nisar and alleged that he had maligned the entire media industry, daring him to prove his allegations.
The same position was taken by Pakitsn Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI), which asked the opposition leader to support his claims.