LAHORE - PMLN President Shehbaz Sharif has demanded interest free loans for the media houses to enable them pay the salaries of their employees amid coronavirus economic fallout.

In a statement issued on Sunday, he urged State Bank of Pakistan to acknowledge the media as a legitimate industrial sector worst hit by the coronavirus outbreak and its economic repercussions.  The SBP must give special scheme for this sector like it did for others, he said. He pointed out that the role of awareness was pivotal in the fight against the fatal pandemic.

Shehbaz pointed out that the media organizations were already reeling from the curbs put by the government and were on the brink of bankruptcy. He stressed that the government must pay all outstanding dues of all media organizations. He warned that media was the fourth pillar of the state which is on the verge of collapse. The industry was in desperate need for government support, he said. Thousands of media workers were being laid off who were sole breadwinners of their families, which was why the government needed to announce a relief package for the media industry with immediate effect, he stressed. He said that media houses were shutting down due to financial turmoil. Like all other sectors under this government, the media too has been in the worst crisis for the past 18 months, he concluded.