India

Hasty decisions without prior thinking caused axing portfolio

golden yug
[ October 25, 2017 ] People of J&K have reasons to believe that CM Mehbooba Mufti being daughter of former CM of J&K and Home Minister of India Late Mufti Mohd Sayeed who lived a simple but dignified life will not allow getting image of Govt eroded by those who pretend to be honest but otherwise indulged in corrupt practices. There is no denying to the fact that during tenure of Mehbooba Mufti as CM of state, number of development projects executed here are first of its kinds but unfortunately key officials failed to keep the momentum of development by indulging in unfair means. DIPR is the agency to monitor news items as well as content and standard of newspapers and have to ensure whether having any substance, it’s a unwritten law local newspapers must promote Govt working, its developmental works and raise voice of those promoting communal harmony working for welfare of one and all defending provisions of constitution and working within parameters laid down in the constitution of country. Keeping in view it in her mind CM handed over Information Department to Ch Zulfikar already serving as CAPD Minister so that department can effectively project policies and programmes of Govt by addressing the grievances of newspapers as she knows that these newspapers play an important role in taking the policies and programmes of Govt to gross root level and they are the ones which project clear picture of implementation of Govt schemes. The decision of CM to withdraw portfolio of Information department from Ch Zulfikar has double meaning. First it seems that when the concerned Minister attached the Joint Director Kashmir after complaints of partiality in distribution of Govt advertisements among newspapers, he was pressurized to revoke his attachment and Joint Director was reinstated after there was state level protest by employees of the department against attachment. The reinstatement was quite understandable as the Govt which is already on back foot to maintain law and order situation in valley could not afford the tussle between Media fraternity and the department resulting in surrender before the Joint Director starting a new tradition that if Govt employees protest then can save wrong person in any department by protesting to save them. It seems that Ch Zulfikar took a hasty decision in attaching the Joint Director where he should have conducted an enquiry before taking such a decision. Perhaps CM has taken serious note of this as the callousness of Minister was quite evident for taking such a decision without giving proper thinking to the decision and also ignoring the impact of decision in Kashmir where the situation is already fragile.Now, as the portfolio of information department has once again taken back by CM, the media fraternity must let to know what was wrong done by Minister and if he hasn’t then why CM withdrew department from Ch Zulfikar Ali. CM had taken good decision by giving charge of Information Minister to other Minister as she has several other important priorities but by taking back the portfolio will shatter the hopes which were generated with coming of Ch Zulfikar as Information Minister.It is advisable on part of Information department not to proceed towards killing the morale of small newspapers by blocking their publication with meager release of Govt advertisements and releasing in bulk to blue eyed newspapers without consideration of any merit. Department must understand that small newspapers are much more effective tool in taking policies and programmes of Govt to gross root level in comparison to big media houses who are more concerned with advertisements without any focus on news contents. The department must in future take every decision ensuring equitable treatment with all newspapers till they categorize newspapers as any further injustice with small newspapers will take them at the verge of closing their publications and if it happens it will be murder of true spirit of journalism and will also corrode very foundation of fourth pillar of democracy.The information department lacks transparency and the same is resented by small newspapers on virtually daily basis due to its recurrence frequently. State Govt in 2016 framed new Advertisement Policy claiming that it will end disparity and discrimination between newspapers by categorizing newspapers to ensure equal distribution of advertisements based on their contents and coverage besides other parameters. This would have been major booster for hard working journalists and their newspapers had it been implemented in letter and spirit. But even after passage of nearly two years nothing has been done in this regard which speaks volume that department is least bothered about transparency and till day killing time only to continue undue favour to blue eyed newspapers at the cost of small newspapers which are striving hard with highly professional covering of social events and reminding govt from time to time with their coverage. No doubt as a Journalist, it becomes moral duty to narrate reality before the public so that guilty be punished and right ones be rewarded but the hard reality is also that they also need decent and timely salaries to nourish their families. With highly discriminatory nature of distribution of Govt advertisements, it becomes extremely difficult for editor of newspapers to provide salaries to staff in time as it is difficult to bear expenses of publishing newspapers without financial support from Information Department in the form of Govt advertisements. It becomes unbearable when one works hard and gets nothing and others which have nothing to offer are suitably supported by providing govt advertisements in bulk at will. It is heartbreaking to note that small newspapers are at the verge of closing publications as the financial support they are getting from department is to meagre to manage expenses of publishing newspapers.