Minister for Information and Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs (FCS&CA), Chowdhary Zulfkar Ali today said the government would continue to provide necessary financial support to the newspapers by way of advertisements to ensure sustainability of especially small and medium publications.
The Minister said this during his interaction with the office bearers and members of the Joint Forum of Newspaper Editors (JFNE), who called on him here today.
The Minister said the Department of Information and Public Relations (DIPR) has been asked to ensure maximum transparency in advertisement distribution and subsequent release of funds strictly in tune with the guidelines laid down in the Print Media Advertisement Policy-2016.
He said the Government has already notified the criteria for categorization of the newspapers for advertisement distribution and fixation of the revised rate structure for each category of the newspapers in tune with their circulation, reach and quality of content.
The Minister said that the government wants to offer as much support as possible on every count to the newspaper sector in the state to ensure its sustainability and professional growth. He said not only the local newspapers, but the national newspapers are also being provided financial support by the state government and out of Rs 32 crore payments made to the newspapers last fiscal, Rs 2.53 crore were paid to the national newspapers. He said the government is also providing regular financial support to wire services and the news agencies including PTI and UNI, and some local news agencies by way of monthly subscription charges.
Zulfkar Ali said the Department has already taken various measures to ensure utmost transparency in distribution of advertisements and in a significant move in this regard, for the first time ever, the details of the payments made to individual publications have been uploaded on the official website of the DIPR. He said it will be a regular feature in the future with the details of advertisements issued by DIPR to the newspapers and the payments made thereof being uploaded on the official website of the Department on quarterly basis.
He said the Department is also in the process of formulating a separate Advertisement Policy for the Electronic and Digital Media. He said the revised Accreditation Rules are being notified shortly.
Calling upon the media to play a responsive and responsible role for the larger good of the society, the Minister said it is imperative for the media play a constructive role in highlighting the real issues confronting the people of the State on developmental, educational and socio-economic fronts. He also stressed the need for distancing reporting from advertisements.