A delegation of editors of the small and medium newspapers today called on the Minister for Information, Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs (FCS&CA), Chowdhary Zulfkar Ali discuss various issues related to the advertisement support for the newspapers in the State.
The delegation sought increased financial support, by way of advertisements, from the government especially for the small and medium newspapers. They said it is not possible for any newspaper to sustain in the State without adequate financial support from the Government.
During the meeting, the Minister gave the delegation a patient hearing and assured them of all possible financial support from the Government to keep the small and medium newspapers afloat.
The Minister said the Government has earmarked a budget of Rs 30 crore under advertisements for newspapers the current financial year while around Rs 32 crore were paid to the newspapers last year. He said the Government also cleared a liability of around Rs 11 crore of the newspapers which had accumulated over a period of time due to lopsided advertisement distribution.
The Minister said the Government has brought in maximum transparency in advertisement distribution and for the first time in the history of the Information Department, the payments made to the individual newspapers have been uploaded on the official website of the Department.
The Minister said that in addition to providing advertisement support to the local and national newspapers to the tune of around Rs 30 crore every year, the Information Department is also providing financial support to the tune of Rs 14 lakh per annum to the wire services including PTI & UNI and also some local news agencies.
He said while the Department of Information would continue to provide financial support to the newspapers by way of advertisements, it would, however, ensure judicious distribution of advertisements in the most transparent manner. He said the Department is in the process of categorization of the newspapers so that all the newspapers get assured advertisements as per their entitlement.
Secretary, Information Department M H Malik, and Director, Information Department, Muneer-ul-Islam were also present during the meeting.