State-run Radio Pakistan, Pakistan Television and Associated Press of Pakistan should work together to project a “soft image” of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf-led government, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Firdous Ashiq Awan said on Monday.
Addressing a meeting in Lahore to review the performance of state-run media departments, Awan said all government outlets should highlight the government’s development agenda and its various welfare projects.
The statement appears to suggest the PTI-led government wants the state-run outlets to operate as its official mouthpieces, a stance that runs counter to the party’s claims when it came into office after the 2018 general elections. On Aug. 21, 2018, then-information minister Fawad Chaudhry had tweeted that Prime Minister Imran Khan had ended the ‘political censorship’ of PTV and Radio Pakistan, urging them to report the views of both the government and opposition without any discrimination. Saying the state outlets would operate along the same principles as the U.K.’s BBC, he had also pledged to improve the functioning of the outlets to make them truly independent.
On Monday, Awan said that the rapidly shifting global media landscape had increased the importance of social media. “Social media can play the role of a bridge between the government and the masses,” she told the meeting. P.M. Khan is eager for the governments at the center and in the Punjab province to evolve a comprehensive policy about the use of the social media as an effective medium of public welfare, she said. All official media outlets should fully utilize social media for good governance, she added.
The meeting, also attended by Punjab Minister for Information and Culture Fayyazul Hassan Chohan and senior officials, voiced its agreement with Awan’s views. Chohan said the government would constitute a Punjab Advisory Council to manage media in the province. He also said a social media convention would soon be organized in Lahore to reach the masses directly.