gy correspondent Jammu mar 21
[ March 21, 2017 ] The department of Information has always remained in limelight for bad reasons be it issuing advertisements to empanelled newspapers, issuing Identity cards and recently Accreditation cards. It has been established and put into public domain that nepotism and influence are the factors which decide most of the things with regard to empanelled newspapers. New Advertisement Policy has been targeted for muzzling the voice of media in Jammu and Kashmir. The owners of the newspapers who are publishing their newspapers from last five to six years were asked by the information department that as per new advertisement policy their previous time period will not be counted. So as per the newly formed advertisement policy these owners have to publish their newspapers on their own expenses for next three years for empanelment. If the necessary amendments in the advertisement policy are not being made soon, then why is not information department considering the previous time period of these newspapers. Why the department is not holding any such meeting since last more than five years to clear the cases already in pipeline. Why they have to wait three years more if they have already passed the time frame.In yet another recent controversy Joint Director Information on 13-03-2017 through mail to editors of newspapers saying that the publishers whose newspapers stood empanelled with the department of information and PR were given a period of one year to complete all the requisite formalities and meet the norms set out in the revised policy 2016 for fresh categorization and empanelment. The mail further said that in the light of above henceforth only those newspapers shall be considered for release of advertisement policy 2016 in letter and spirit. However it has been exposed that the norms which were supposed to be followed for one year were only followed for the last few days to show that they have acted in accordance with New Advertisement Policy which is gross injustice with all those editors who for the whole year acted as per the new advertisement policy. However approving such papers being follower of new advertisement policy without going through the performance of such newspapers which remained nil and performed according to new advertisement policy just for few days to hoodwink the department. Much awaited categorization of newspapers has not been done and both types of newspapers one hard working and another copy paste getting same treatment and if the categories are not implemented, then on what criteria theadvts are being issued resulting in discrimination. As there is no such parameter to issue advts on merit, it always remains suspicious and most of the newspapers keep on complaining their ignorance and preference over others over releasing govt advts. For example as per the new policy, all the newspapers whether empanelled or in line for empanelment were directed to have at least eight pages for dailies (400 Col Cms) per page, Weeklies (200 Cms) per page must have 16 pages. Fortnightlies (200 Col Cms) must have 24 pages and Monthlies (100 Col Cms) must have 32 pages. However this has not been done by the newspapers who seek empanelment of their newspapers. It will be in interest of credibility of Department to reject such papers that throughout year did not pay any heed to norms in new advertisement policy and switch on to it only recently to stake claim for empanelment. All this shows that new advertisement policy has not been implemented in letter and spirit as if a printer publisher has more than one title/s 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 but this rule has not been followed and over sighted by Information department. It has also come to fore that some newspapers have been given undue favour sacrificing rules and norms over others and this issue must be looked into at the earliest as the attendance aspect of newspapers has not been considered at all. Moreover in today’s modern era using technology reaching far flung areas in internet and for that purpose all the newspapers should be available on google as e-papers. But it has been found that several of the newspapers don’t upload their e-papers and have no websites to have this kind of facility. Most of the papers empaneled already don’t have their websites to upload their epapers. Furthermore the doors of Court are always open to seek justice in case there are serious loopholes in the implementation of new advertisement policy as so far knocked the door of court though there are murmurings on the issue among media houses with regard to its implementation as several clauses have been sacrificed in a haste to implement the policy after one year time