Accountability seems to be the key word of the season as more and more state institutions are looking inwards to their own faults. The latest institution is the state-owned television channel, PTV. A parliamentary body on Wednesday asked Pakistan Television’s (PTV) top management to conduct an inquiry against former PTV managing director (MD) Muhammad Malik for his alleged involvement in corruption and nepotism as head of the state-run channel. This comes at the heels of a similar enquiry being conducted by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

Nepotism is always a serious concern, but in the case of PTV it's just a symptom of a wider problem. The state television has been slowly falling behind modern times; in the age of cable and internet channels it has failed to evolve. Once the channel used to reach out to the whole nation, but now it only runs in places where cable is unavailable. It may still geographically provide coverage to most of the country but its viewership has fallen drastically.

The possible causes are legion, but mismanagement and archaic methods are foremost. The MD of PTV, Syed Imran Gardezi informed the committee that majority of the equipment and studios in PTV have become outdated and currently PTV has no proper equipment for producing dramas. It should send alarms bells ringing now that a parliament committee declares that "PTV will become another PIA within 10 or 15 years if proper HR review of PTV was not conducted.”

Yet it must be kept in mind that PTV's decline is not solely due to administrative problems, the way the channel has been used by successive governments has taken its toll too. Other national carriers, such as the BBC, used their unparalleled access and state funding to make programmes of national interest that a profit-making private channel would have been unable to do; hence their continued success.

PTV instead became the mouthpiece of whomever was in charge. Be it the news or the TV dramas, each government used it to further their own ideological views.

Perhaps it was inevitable that such a politically motivated institution would fall victim to nepotism and decay. PTV is not doomed however, it still has national coverage, government funding and a legacy of great programming; the government can still change the fate of the beloved national carrier.