PR Karachi - The All Pakistan Newspapers Society and Pakistan Broadcasters Association on Thursday rejected on factual grounds the statement of Federal Information Minister Chaudhry Fawad Hussain in which he had claimed that around half of the dues of media industry had been paid to media houses and yet none of that amount had been used to pay salaries of workers.

The information minister was quoted as saying, "Half (Rs0.6 billion) of the $9.6 million (Rs1.3 billion) have been released to media houses who kept all of the money for themselves instead of paying their journalists."

“Such statements are false and can create conflict within the media industry.”

Overdues of the governments (federal and provincial) are over Rs8 billion and not Rs1.3 billion. Furthermore the government hasn't even released 10 percent let alone half of Rs1.3 billion fictitious figure given by the information minister.  Out of the Rs8 billion, around Rs3 billion is overdue for more than 4 years, and the rest Rs3 billion is overdue by 9 months to 15 months. The majority part of dues of media industry relates to federal and Punjab governments.

The chief justice of Pakistan had called a special meeting to facilitate the settlement of media dues. He had asked the federal and provincial governments to clear the undisputed dues within 30 days. However, even after 60 days the dues still remain unpaid. Both the federal information minister and the finance minister were present in this meeting.

The joint statement by PBA and APNS criticised the remarks by the information minister Chaudhry Fawad Hussain, as not only being inaccurate and misleading but also not befitting a federal minister. To set the record straight, so far not even 10 percent of the total amount, owed by the federal and provincial governments, has been paid, despite the orders given by Prime Minister Imran Khan to repay all dues of media houses.

The APNS and PBA requested Prime Minister Imran Khan to advise the concerned ministries to implement his orders with respect to dues of media houses.