A Radio Pakistan spokesman has strongly criticized a report appearing in a section of the press [daily Dawn] that the national broadcaster has shut its regional languages transmission and removed all permanent staff from its news and current affairs channel [NCAC].

In a statement on Sunday, he described the report as absolutely incorrect, concocted and unfounded and designed to create fuss and confusion.

Highlighting the facts, the spokesman maintained that the news and current affairs channel [NCAC] of Radio Pakistan was launched in 1999 to compete with local and foreign electronic channels in this age of media explosion, and a consultant was formally engaged for it. However, the then PBC management in August 2008, drifting away from the very aims and objectives of the NCAC, turned it into an entertainment-cum-current affairs channel and raised it as a separate organization under the title of so-called National Broadcasting Service [NBS], parallel to Radio Pakistan.

The incumbent PBC management, however, restored the original status and name of the channel i.e. NCAC to promote its real aims and objectives and to compete with other current affairs channels both at home and abroad. The flood of feedback from the audience has validated that the decision of the current management was correct.

The so-called NBS was running six hours – mostly prerecorded – programmes but after restoration of NCAC, the duration of transmission was extended to 13 hours from seven a.m. to nine p.m. Besides, two hours transmission in the morning has been devoted for Saut-ul-Quran channel. Furthermore, two hours current affairs programmes are being aired by regional units in their respective regional languages from 11 a.m. to one p.m. so as to promote national harmony which could not be compromised.

Regarding removal of the permanent staff, the spokesman explained that the incumbent management had neither removed anyone from service nor has it any retrenchment plan. Instead, the management recognizes the skills and talent of its producers and realizes that they can do a lot for the organization. As current affairs is purely a news-related subject, the producers whom the non-professional mentors of NBS had picked from the programme and other wings, were repatriated to their mother services to better utilize their skills and energies in their original field of entertainment, drama and music. The news professionals recently transferred to NCAC are well known personalities in their field and are well qualified having 25-30 years news and current affairs experience to their credit.

As far the induction of ten inexperienced people in NCAC at heavy perks, the spokesman asserted that the reporter concerned did not mention even a single name of the beneficiary. He should have come up with at least the documentary proof, if any, in this regard. Rather, professors, scholars, analysts and anchors from programme wing have been shifted to NCAC to enrich current affairs programmes only for research purposes and not to run the transmission.


The PBC spokesman further clarified that current affairs programmes are not played on any FM channel of Radio Pakistan, but the NCAC programmes are available on the frequency 1,152 Khz [Islamabad] throughout Pakistan and adjoining parts of neighboring countries, 1,332 Khz [Lahore], 1,134 Khz [Quetta] and 1,170 Khz [Peshawar].

The spokesman categorically denied that any transmission has been shut. He further clarified that the reporter concerned has misquoted Director General Samina Parvez as saying that a new high-powered transmitter would be made available after about six months. He stressed that not one but four transmitters of Radio Pakistan would become functional in not six months but in August this year. These transmitters are being installed in Hyderabad, Peshawar, Dera Ismail Khan and Faqirabad.

About claims made by the reporter, the spokesman clarified that the worthy DG did not talk about closure of any programme or shortage of transmitters. Rather the organization is in the process of replacement of old transmitters and to add new digitized transmitters. Besides, she had offered to the reporter that she would share the entire programme schedule with him on Monday.

Touching upon the claims made by Ms Samina Parvez's predecessor in the said story, the spokesman emphasized that the exercise of en bloc transfers involving huge TA/DA and issuance of show-cause notices and charge-sheets to create harassment among the staff which remained in full swing from June 2008-April 2013, has been stopped and a financial discipline has been established in the organization. The incumbent management is clearing the backlog of pension and other dues of retired employees which had remained unpaid due to lavish spending of the previous management.

Concluding, the spokesman advised the reporter to verify the facts before filing the story to maintain his credibility. Being a state organ, PBC reserves the right to sue the reporter concerned for misreporting the facts and misquoting the worthy DG. 

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