After 10 years of stagnant charges, a motion to increase PTV’s licence fees was introduced and approved by the federal government last week, despite growing public dissent. While the cabinet’s approval is yet to arrive, the benefits of such a reform cannot be understated—quality content, enhanced representation and improved accessibility are just a few of the services that PTV will be able to provide with a larger budget.

The request for a fee increase works in accordance with established practises all across the world. For instance, BBC is a national broadcasting channel that charges the public to cover costs of operation and the creation of inclusive, expansive and objective content—for both information and entertainment. There is no reason to suggest why PTV cannot do the same.

With more money at its disposal, PTV will be able to ensure improved representation in regards to factions of society as well as the issues that prove to be detrimental to national progress. Thus, forcing the channel to go beyond the token measures of inclusivity—programmes in different languages or depictions of cultural attire—will allow for people to explore discourse beyond the surface level. This enriched awareness will also be supported by the upgradation of the types of content as well as its generation methods. The benefits through this are immense. Education, building tolerance and creating a more unified and inclusive Pakistan are some of the more obvious ones.

It is important to note that this increase in charges is minor in comparison to the harms of an absent service in rural areas and unaffordability that comes with commercial channels. There is currently no plan in place through which PTV can remain a well-functioning service provider that provides access to positive content throughout the country. For the sake of public enlightenment, all sides of the political spectrum should get behind this development.