No relief to small newspapers in distribution of Govt advts

golden yug
[ July 06, 2017 ] Information Department has consistently failed to convince most of the newspapers that it works in a transparent way which means to ensure the reach of policies and programmes in every nook and corner of state to develop an opinion about the working of Govt whether as per agenda or opposite to their aspirations. As a fact of matter the Govt advertisements which are meant to be distributed judiciously have never ever been distributed so. The department of Information and public relations (DIPR) is the nodal agency for distribution of advertisements of the govt of Jammu and Kashmir and has a responsibility to ensure that the policies and programmes reach common man effectively but the department due to its stress on favoritism and nepotism has created rift among the newspapers not on the basis of quality but on a parameter which is nowhere in rule book. It has been observed that due to discriminatory approach in distribution of Govt advertisements small papers have received a serious setback and facing serious financial crisis to get their newspaper published when Govt should come to their rescue as ultimately newspapers are doing their job for raising issues having great relevance with the society. The families attached with this profession have been made to live from hand to mouth. Since there is no categorization of newspapers based on number of pages, size, setup, whether daily, fortnightly, weekly or monthly, or colored and black and white the transparency in distribution of Govt advertisements can’t be ensured and this the major reason why some papers have always been given preference at the cost of small papers who have always struggled to deal with this brazen discrimination. It is surprising to note that despite the considerable has already passed since the new advertisement policy put in public domain and where tall claims were made that this will bring revolution but unfortunately the important aspect of new advertisement policy March 2016 which was to make justice with all the newspapers based on the quality and contents in the newspaper has not done so far which speaks volume that it is being done deliberately so that small papers can’t improve financially. Moreover the formalities which were to be produced by empanelled papers were not produced in requisite time but suitably adjusted by allowing them to manage the same at their will with the active support and patronage of department. It seems they wish to choke the small and medium newspapers by not approving for government advertisement, ultimately leading to the closure of these newspapers. In this design, some blue eyed papers are showered government advertisements worth lacs and lacs of Rupees every month to keep them in the government purse and silent approval of government policies. In comparison to that, others are given nominal advertisements which are not sufficient to meet their bare minimum expenses. To give undue favour to owners whose newspapers failed to handover formalities during 2016-17 including number of pages with size as set by department according to new advertisement Policy was not in the jurisdiction of even head of department what to talk of his juniors but even then done ignoring rules and regulations which doesn’t permit anybody to bypass it irrespective of status in society. Before sharing details which are painful and heartbreaking for hardworking newspapers, we want to make it clear at the outset that we don’t have any ill will against any newspapers and the staff of department but it is aimed at reminding the department that some editors are taking undue advantage of their political masters and getting advertisements much more than their capabilities and reach and in all this genuine newspapers have been badly hit. To prove our point, there are few examples where undue priority has been given in advertisements despite their lacking in on different parameters including important component that is attendance. It has been observed that there are few who gets proper treatment inside premises of Information Department with personal interests and there are many having important suggestions to improve working of department but not given proper treatment which is creating wedge between hard working journalists and those who believe in using influence to improve their fortunes without hard work. Two recently approved newspapers namely Early Morning and Recent News one English daily and other one in Hindi among 99 other newspapers which were empanelled vide order No. 18-ID of 2017 Dated 6-6-17, both these newspapers having same editor and owner namely Bandhana Bhagat and are being published from the same place. Both the above are publishing in English language instead of approved one english and one hindi . There are several other examples where the set norms were openly violated which say as per the rules, if a printer publisher has more than one title/ titles registered in his/her name in the same language, with same periodicity and published from same place, only one such publication would be considered for empanelment. However these rules were ignored while empanelling the newspapers recently. As per the attendance report which is being send through Emails to all the editors regarding their attendance that is their punctuality, both these newspapers remained absent from 01-6-2017 to 27-6-2017 which is evident from the attendance report of Information department. However, surprisingly both these newspapers were given advertisements much before than some good newspapers in line among 99 newspapers to get govt advertisements after the empanelment for govt advertisements despite remaining absent for more than month. At the same time, there were other papers much better than on many parameters still waiting for first govt advertisement after empanelment despite having punctuality and other parameters. However under rules as per the new advertisement Policy 2016 these two papers were not authorized to get govt advertisement, but the editor with the connivance of staff managed attendance by submitting newspapers in one go which were not published for months. As per the sources, newspaper namely Early Morning received advertisement vide No. DIP/J 2887, 2905, 2938 and 2887 was issued in favor of Recent News dated 4-7-2017. Despite lacking on several fronts, both these newspapers were out of way felicitated with govt advertisements when they were not deserving at all and that too by ignoring several genuine papers which were fulfilling the criteria under new advertisement policy 2016. Such a special treatment to these newspapers speaks of unhygienic nexus among officials and editors like these of such newspapers. Otherwise there is no other reason for selecting these newspapers for govt advertisements. Besides there are several other newspapers whose attendance is poor also and which is shown by attendance report of Information department. But department deliberately keeps columns of attendance blank rather than writing present are absent thereby providing an opportunity to latecomers to improve their attendance later on. To quote few more examples, newspaper Kashmir Images remained absent from 20-6-2017 to 22-06-2017 and 25-6-2017 to 30-06-2017, Greater Jammu newspaper from 26-6-2017 to 30-6-2017. Moreover the attendance report was deliberately send after delaying for a considerable period to provide enough time to manage their attendance. There are many other papers which have consistently failed to publish requisite editions i.e at least twenty five monthly and that too every edition should be published regularly and the same should be submitted with the information department on the same day. Though new Information Minister and his staff had promised and assured that the prime duty of department to ensure transparency and accountability in distribution of govt advertisements but such glaring examples of discrimination have exposed the tall claims of department which has yet again failed to come out with concrete mechanism to end this discrimination once for all. In this competitive era, where technology making advancements manifolds, information department sticking age old system of attendance whereas we have ultra modern gadgets to ensure transparency and accountability to convince others and themselves to follow proper way of functioning. Ignoring technology and adopting such ways which is prevalent right now in information department. Unfortunately while distributing advertisements to newly empanelled newspapers, seniority of newspaper was totally ignored and also ignored the credentials of newspaper before empanelment which is gross injustice with honest and hard working journalists and their career.