India

DIPR failed to keep good relations with newspapers with its discriminatory & anarchic approach

golden yug
[ August 24, 2017 ] Department of information and Public relation (DIPR) revised advertisement policy issued vide Govt Order No. 09-ID of 2016 dated 4-3-2016 approved by state administrative Council vide its decision No. 11/3/2016 dated 3-3-2016 is disputed as its most empanelment committee constituted by Govt Order No. 17-ID of 2015 dated 26-6-2015 is under stay of High Court of Jammu & Kashmir as such inclusion of ibid stated order in DIPR Advertisement Policy 2016 and to further assign the already stayed committee to categorize the newspapers is contempt of Hon’ble Court Order. Pertinent to mention here that Hon’ble High Court vide OWP No. 1730/2015 & MP No. 01/2015 have stayed implementation of impugned communications on 24-11-2015 vide Govt Order No. 17-ID of 2015 dated 26-6-2015 but surprisingly the same order is referred under the head empanelment Committee in advertisement policy 2016 which is a contempt of Hon’ble High Court Order as the above reference Case No. is still pending before the Court. Amazingly DIPR is also misguiding Minister Information as the committee constituted for empanelment of newspapers under revised advertisement Policy 2016 is already stayed by Hon’ble Court and Committee members go ahead with the same committee now during August 2017 to categorize newspapers is contempt of Court, however concerned committee members can’t be such a persons going against law which proves that committee members were definitely kept in dark over the stay order on empanelment Committee. DIPR is bound to issue advertisements to those newspapers having circulation among masses but as noticed it is promoting business of those newspapers not found on the stalls and its alleged advertisements to such papers is given on give and take basis. Interestingly when the empanelment Committee formation itself is disputed and case is pending with High Court .In such circumstances decisions taken by such committees are questionable. It deserves mentioning here in 2015-2016, The information department out of way approved single daily newspaper purely on prejudice basis ignoring the empanelment committee headed by Director Information fully assisted by members from across the Divisions as per the Advertisement Policy 1996 and also at the sometime backstabbing several genuine deserving newspapers. Accordingly among a lot of destitute newspapers who were painedp over the decision, one of the editor of Jammu based Newspaper filed a writ petition in Hon’ble High Court on Nov 2015 questioning the power of department to empanel single newspaper without following set rules and procedure existing at that time. Hon’ble Court after going through the arguments of petitioner, passed a judgment vide OWP No. 1730/2015 & MP No. 01/2015 dated 24-11-2015 that the empanelment of single paper be stayed. Besides Hon’ble Court in its decision under the same writ petition also stayed the empanelment committee constituted vide Govt Order No. 17-ID of 2015 dated 26-6-2015 also stayed. In the course of proceedings in High Court, The Hon’ble High Court passed a special direction to empanel the newspaper of petitioner as well as respondent newspaper according to new advertisement policy approved by state administrative Council vide its decision No. 11/3/2016 dated 3-3-2016 and information department order No. 09-ID of 2016 dated 4-3-2016. Encouraged by the Court’s decision several other newspapers also approached High Court with the similar writ petitions. The Court also considered the case of empanelment of newspapers which filed respective writ petitions before it having completed three years of regular publications without break and accordingly the Court ordered the empanelment of eleven such newspapers. However deserving newspapers were again cheated when Joint Director Information Jammu also forwarded the names of newspapers which were nowhere near to fulfilling the parameters which were fulfilled by newspapers who got empanelled after the direction of High Court by joining hands with the editors of such, newspapers for vested interests following which some ninety nine newspapers were recommended by Joint Director/ Dy Director for empanelment and ultimately which were empanelled also. However as per the previous Joint Director / Dy Director Jammu recommendations, some 48 newspapers were recommended to empanelment committee vide No: INF/J-479/2016 Dated 23-5-2016. It deserves mentioning here that this particular list was based on parameters in line with the set procedure by empanelment Committee and most of these newspapers were fulfilling all the codal formalities. However the recommendations made by present Joint Director/ Dy Director were such where most of the newspapers were far from requisite formalities including irregular attendance, number of pages beside others which were equally important and vital for empanelment vide letter No: INF/J-1866/2016 Dated 18-01-2017. Unfortunately impugned Empanelment Committee in its meeting held on 27th March 2017 under the chairmanship of then Principal Secretary to Information Department and accordingly approved 99 newspapers from both the regions without going into details of each case whether eligible for empanelment under Advertisement Policy 2016. However it put question mark on empanelment committee which was stayed by Court at that time and which is still under stay, how it can function and take important decisions. Moreover in a suspicious move the order by Court to empanel newspapers was for those who filed writ petitions and the order of same was issued on April 2016 but the implementation of the same took three long months by department surely to spare this time for setting with newspapers who were in line for empanelment but did not fulfill the laid down criteria. Joint Director/Dy Director in lieu of kickbacks recommended the names of newspapers for empanelment which were empanelled after three months which was the hidden agenda of department to empanel newspapers which were not eligible and perhaps for this reason department took three months for implementation of Court Order. The stayed empanelled Committee did not stop here and now recently sought formalities from newspapers for categorization of newspapers in the month of August which they can’t and which is also contempt of Court OWP No. 507/2016 and MP NO.1/2016 dated April 11 2016. It is stated that Director General Information ( Respondent No.2 to adhere to the statutory mechanism and not get the figures of the circulation, printing capacity and news print consumption etc. Impugned Empannelment committee has no power to relax rules while granting approval for empanelment of newspapers. In Section 4.1 of advertisement policy 2016, it is stated,” that The empanelment Committee may relax the regularity conditions in the event of any exigency like natural disaster or any other condition beyond the control of publisher but in the present case above stated committee with closed eyes approved few newspapers which are not eligible for empanelment as per revised Advertisement Policy 2016