New chairman of state broadcaster claims channel will not feature the opposition in its coverage
Pakistan Television (PTV) Board Chairman Naeem Bokhari, appointed to the position earlier this week, on Tuesday told a journalist that the state broadcaster would not give “equal time” to the opposition and government.
“Absolutely not,” he said in response to a question on whether the state-run TV would provide equal coverage to both government and opposition voices. “This is the PTV, not any other channel. This is state television, which represents the government,” he added.
To a follow-up query on whether this meant the channel would “only” cover the government’s narrative, Bokhari replied in the affirmative by saying “only government.”
The government has relaxed rules to appoint Bokhari the chairman of the PTV—under the existing guidelines, no person over 65 could be appointed to the post, which spans a period of three years. Bokhari, a lawyer and close confidant of Prime Minister Imran Khan, is 72.
The former television personality’s statement on how he plans to operate PTV is also at odds with the incumbent government’s pre-election claims of making the state-run broadcaster an “independent entity.” In its election manifesto, the PTI had claimed it would end “political censorship” at the state broadcaster, ensuring “complete editorial independence” in line with the standards of British broadcaster BBC.