BY ALI NAQVI – Advertising Industry in Pakistan is in troubled waters. All Pakistan Newspaper Society (APNS) has sidestepped Pakistan Advertising Association (PAA) to allow Press Information Department (PID) to release ads to publications. This comes as a clear violation of APNS rules and regulations. It all started when APNS suspended its circular of April 4, 2020.
The industry represented by Pakistan Advertising Association has cried for help but there is little or no impact. One cannot expect media to highlight the issue as media groups are APNS members and own satellite channels and newspapers.
Waqar H. Haidri, Chairman Pakistan Advertising Association on behalf of all members has raised the issue with APNS. In his letter to Secretary General APNS Sarmad Ali, Waqar H. Haidri wrote “PAA member advertising agencies would like to inform you that agency commission of 15% on the direct release of government ads is the legitimate right of an ad agency and in this connection, PAA has already sent you a letter. PAA member ad agencies are facing great financial problems as the government has failed to clear outstanding dues of member agencies and APNS keeps on accepting direct releases from PID without getting the NOC.”
PAA warned that if no action was taken by APNS in recovering old dues of 85%, the payment which belongs to media will be delayed for an indefinite period and thus the current payments might also be delayed for an indefinite period.
Agencies get only 15% commission from media and some had paid to media in advance and therefore, facing a liquidity crunch. It is the responsibility of APNS to help member agencies in recovering their dues.
The implementation of the new media policy has become a nightmare as all classified business has been suspended forcing advertising agencies to shut down their business. “Advertising agencies doing government business have always paid to APNS member publications with their own resources due to delay in payments from government side” noted Waqar H. Haidri.
The matter is far worse than it seems. Print and electronic media are already going through its worst crisis in history. Media giants like Jang, Dawn, Express, and Dunya are unable to pay their staff on time. A large number of employees have been fired from their jobs in the last year or so. PAA delaying media payments will further deepen the crisis.
Both Government and the APNS should not forget that Advertising is a specialized field and its importance and value ought not to be ignored. It is hoped that the voice of Pakistan Advertising Association will be heard and the government will intervene if APNS fails to address the issue.