Sunday, March 04, 2012

Personal Audio from Radio Pakistan

I'm afraid that Radio Pakistan will have to present a much better plan to explain how it will make programmes in the public interest far more efficiently than it does now. Government radio stations in South Asia have become notorious in professional circles for being bureaucratic, inefficient and vastly over-staffed. First the programme plan, then the finance, I would say. Looking at the Radio Pakistan website it looks like they have got carried about with new platforms like web-streaming. I was the only one watching when I checked (see below). Pakistan has a rich heritage and an important role in our world. But Radio Pakistan needs to do a lot differently. But civil servants rarely make passionate, engaging broadcasters.

Radio Pakistan is “facing deficit of over Rs2 billion [around US$22 million] and urgently needs funds to improve its vital services,” according to the Director General of the Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation, Murtaza Solangi. Addressing a news conference on March 3rd, he urged civil society and media to extend full support in making Radio Pakistan a financially viable and efficient national institution. He said the proposal of raising funds for Radio Pakistan by imposing levy of two percent on mobile phone cards has been floated to bring PBC out of financial crunch. Mr Solangi said if the proposal is approved by the parliament in the new Federal Budget for fiscal year 2012-13 it would help Radio Pakistan to upgrade its services and improve quality of programmes.
Pakistan has already worked out a method to bring in extra revenue of US$44 million dollars, according to Pakistan's Express Tribune. 
In a bid to pull the ailing Radio Pakistan out of a deep financial crunch, a National Assembly standing committee approved recommendations by the Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation (PBC) to collect 2% tax on every recharge from cellular phone users and a one-time fee on the purchase of new vehicles.
The National Assembly Standing Committee on Broadcasting and Information on Thursday March 1st approved the recommendations in a bid to generate additional funds for the state institution now tottering on the brink. The plan envisages a broadcast cess of 2% on users of cellular phones and one-time cess of Rs4,000 per unit on sale of all categories of motor vehicles which are equipped with radio receivers.
The meeting, presided by MNA Belum Hasnain, was informed by Radio Pakistan Director General Murtaza Solangi that they have forwarded a road map to the Ministry of Information as well as the finance ministry to nurse the PBC back to financial health.
“We are facing a financial crunch and cannot survive without the generation of new revenue for the state-run radio,” said Solangi. The government-run radio has 3.5 million minutes of valuable recording in archives which is being digitalised, he informed the committee, adding that 100,000 minutes have already been digitalised and made available on YouTube channel the PBC’s. The meeting, in consultation with other members, supported the idea to collect 2% revenue on every recharge from cellular users which would enable Radio Pakistan to collect Rs4 billion per annum.

Hopefully all this re-discovered digital archive material will be made accessible to the public who have paid for it, and that Radio Pakistan producers will find ways to put this archive material into a modern context. Just putting this stuff on back on (digital) shelves  means it's accessible to no-one.

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