India

Information department embracing Kashmir, embarrassing Jammu region

golden yug
[ June 17, 2017 ] After well educated candidates were deliberately deprived of govt jobs on merit by JKPSC, it seems saga of discrimination with Jammu going on with Jammu unabated. This times it is the turn of Jammu based newspapers to face discrimination. It is pertinent to mention here that J&K Government on 6th of June approved empanelment of 99 fresh newspapers and periodicals for advertisement support taking the total number of empanelled newspapers in the State to 467.The fresh empanelment was granted to these publications on the recommendations of the Empanelment Committee in terms of Clause-2 of the Advertisement Policy-2016 and on the approval of the Minister for Information Chowdhary Zulfkar Ali. The fact of the matter is newly empanelled newspapers in Kashmir started getting advertisements from Information Department the very next day but so far in Jammu, there is no clue for newly empanelled newspapers which have been empanelled in Jammu for the purpose of Govt advertisements. Thgese newspapers have already suffered a lot and operated under serious financial constraints without any help from any quarter and also by sacrificing the well being of therir respective families to propagate the policies and programmes of Govt and also the public issues. The department must understand that with every small newspaper there is also the livelihood of two to three workers which is directly attached to the financial which these small papers get in the form of govt advertisements. They have to suffer unnecessarily with the editor whenever he faces financial crisis. Moreover the advertisement bills were not entertained on the pretext that the process fort categorization of newspapers is in process and that after these exercise new rates will be introduced. However Information department applying delaying tactics to release advertisements to newly empanelled newspapers by again seeking details from the editors of Jammu newspapers to furnish requisite information for the process of categorization of newspapers gets completed, however the same information has already been submitted two months back with information department. It is quite bizarre that same Joint Director Information had issued the same order and accordingly Jammu based Editors had provided the required information.Not only this, the information department send a highly lengthy Performa of details to be submitted by Jammu based editors of newspapers where as the Performa send to Kashmir based newspapers was not even one third of Performa issued to Jammu which seems an attempt to mentally harass the Jammu based editors unnecessarily and also to create panic among them. When the Chief Minister handed over the information department to Ch Zulfikar Ali, there was high hope among Jammu based editors that the step will definitely improve the past mess and that their voice will be heard but to much of their disappointment the system remains the same although the rein of department has been handed over to new Minister who has shown his intention to put the things in right perspective. This particular delay should immediately be addressed by department and the concerned Minister should serious cognizance of this as these small things creates bigger wedge between two regions which should not be a case in the state for the existence of healthy journalism in state. If it is not addressed on priority then it will be assumed that attempt is being made to demoralize small newspapers financially which have their respective grips in specific areas and for a considerable strength of population. It deserves mentioning here that Rising Kashmir Jammu edition started getting advertisement after High Court directed the department to approve the newspaper Golden Yug which had challenged the empanelment of Rising Kashmir Jammu edition after its empanelment unilaterally. However the department started issuing advertisements to the said newspaper merely on application without any official order. The Rising Kashmir however has been approved for empanelment along with 98 other newspapers. These issues need to be sorted out so that no one is ignored and no one is preferred unnecessarily. The new Minister is appealed to address most serious issue of discrimination with regard to distribution of Govt advertisements which is matter of brawl among editors and a issue of serious fight among them. One can till now just hope that with the categorization of news papers this particular nuisance will end once for all however till this happens there should not be any further discrimination with the newspapers over distribution of advertisements. There should be at least some type of merit for issuing advertisements so that already doing better may go for best and those which are trying to be good may do better in their skills for better journalistic environment in state. The department must ensure that those working hard with public interest stories must be encouraged and forwarded and those which are just killing the spirit of newspapers must be made to improve with some restrictions by department.