Govt to hold inquiry after Maryam’s admission of ads controlling

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry has claimed that PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz doled out Rs18bn from national kitty to reward blue-eyed journalists and some media channels during their tenure.

Addressing a press conference flanked by Federal Minister for Energy Hammad Azhar, Fawad Chaudhry said that Maryam Nawaz had admitted to controlling the advertisements of some television channels.

Chaudhry claimed that the party media cell that Maryam oversaw at the Prime Minister’s House used approximately Rs10 billion from the federal government’s reserves.

“With approval of the party’s media cell, supervised by Maryam Nawaz, Rs 9.62 bn were utilized for funding of federal government (advertisements), while around Rs 10 billion for Punjab government,” he claimed.

The federal minister said advertisements for the federal and provincial governments were managed by the ‘notorious media cell’ set up by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) to reward specific journalists.

Initially, 15 members were made part of the cell and later Rs 20 million were allocated for additional recruitment and was mandated to run targeted media campaigns, he added.

A video clip of Maryam’s news conference was also screened during Chaudhry’s press conference. Fawad Chaudhry announced that government had decided to conduct a inquiry into the whole affair.