Islamabad: PTV, Pakistan's state-owned broadcaster, has suspended 17 officials for failing to ensure "proper" coverage of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharifs Lahore visit on the channel last week, according to a media report.
Strangely, the broadcast failure was due to the non-availability of an advanced laptop required to upload the video footage through file transfer protocol (FTP), said the Dawn news report.
The suspended employees, on the other hand, claimed they had been scapegoated by the administration appointed by the previous regime in order to save the bigwigs.
On April 24, Sharif had visited the Kot Lakhpat Jail and Ramazan Bazaars in Lahore. But the PTV team, despite prior information, failed to cover the events on the spot allegedly owing to non-availability of a properly functional laptop, the report said.
As per the standard operating procedures, a VVIP team comprising reporters and producers is responsible for the coverage of the premier.
The team is equipped with the latest broadcast gadgets, including laptops for live streaming and timely uploading of the footage of any event.
The core team is stationed in Islamabad and moves with the Prime Minister across the country and abroad.
As per documents available with Dawn news, when the PTV Lahore centre was conveyed about Sharif's visit, they informed the channel's headquarters and its director news about the non-availability of an advanced laptop.
Earlier on April 18, PTV Lahore had written a letter to the headquarters informing it that they had hired a laptop from a private vendor for the Prime Minister's visit to the city a day ago, as the office did not have one of its own.
"Prime Minister of Pakistan was scheduled to visit Lahore... the Press Information Department demanded an editing team with a laptop along with the news team for timely editing and feeding to the concerned from the spot.
"Since we don't have any laptop editing facility at the Lahore centre, we hired a laptop with the editing facility this time and deputed staff from the centre, but as a permanent arrangement we must own the same facility at the centre," said the letter
Sources in PTV said the Lahore bureau was informed about the PM's April 24 visit. It once again demanded a laptop, however, the in-charge of reporting as well as current affairs departments of the state-run TV in the capital did not pay any heed and suggested hiring one again, Dawn news reported.
Sources said the Lahore centre GM was compelled to get his personal laptop from home and hand it over to the VVIP coverage team.
After coverage, when the team tried to transmit the footage to the office through FTP, it found the battery of the laptop had drained. Subsequently, instead of the visuals from the spot, PTV covered the event through an audio beeper of the reporter.
Traditionally, the PTV higher management suspended senior officials at the helm of affairs, but this time those removed from office included those from the second and third tiers.