The office bearers and members of the Kashmir Editors Guild (KEG) led by its president, Fayaz Ahmad Kaloo called on Director Information and Public Relations, Muneer-ul-Islam here today to discuss various issues pertaining to the media fraternity in Kashmir.
Interacting with the members, the Director informed them that the DIPR has started the process for categorization of newspapers in the State in light of the guidelines laid down in the Advertisement Policy-2016 to ensure judicious distribution of advertisements. He sought cooperation of KEG and other editors’ forums for putting in place the categorization framework and also sought their feedback on the issue.
“Our aim is to streamline the department and it will be only possible with the support of the stakeholders,” Director told the KEG members during two hour long marathon meeting. “Your timely feedback and suggestions are going to guide us to provide better services to the media fraternity and also enhance the information flow,” he said.
During the meeting the members raised various issues including timely accreditation of the journalists, launching of journalist welfare scheme, setting up of press club in Srinagar, revision of rates for the newspaper advertisements, launching of health insurance scheme for journalists, categorization of the newspapers under new Advertisement Policy and rationalization of advisement distribution.
“We have begun some innovative measures to revamp the department to address the day to day pressing demands and the increasing challenges of the media,” said the Director.
“For expecting better and transparent services from the Department, the stakeholders must come to the Directorate directly and take up the issues with us,” he said.
The members discussed all the issues, appealing the Director Information and Public Relations to adopt a rational and transparent approach to address the issues of the fraternity.
The members vehemently hailed the Department’s process of categorization of newspapers. They appealed the Director to set a proper deadline for its implementation.
“We are very keen to have a proper policy on advertisements and categorization of the newspapers, on the merits of each publication, in place,” KEG members said.
The members remarked that KEG doesn’t object or negate to the policy formulated by the Department. “There must be a timeframe for formulating the policy and have it with after the proper feedback from the stakeholders,” they said.
Director Information and Public Relations assured the delegation that all their genuine demands would be taken up on priority. He said that pressing issues of media fraternity would be addressed in consultation with the Minister for Information, Choudhary Zulfkar Ali.
After assuming the charge as Director Information & Public Relations, Muneer-ul-Islam has held series of meetings with the media fraternity including editors and working journalists. Earlier the Director held a meeting with a delegation of Kashmir-based Working Journalists comprising Correspondents, Reporters, Photojournalists and Video-journalists to discuss modalities for handover of proposed Srinagar Press Club to the media fraternity and measures needed for welfare and facilitating smooth discharge of professional duties by the journalists on the ground.
The KEG members also thanked the Government for setting up Press Club in Srinagar, which was a long pending demand of the Valley-based journalists, and sought its early handover to the Kashmir Editors Guild (KEG) as announced by the Chief Minister on the floor of the House in recently held budget session in Jammu, so that it can be made functional at the earliest.
It was further decided that after the take-over of the proposed Press Club by KEG an elected body comprising various media/journalists organizations in Kashmir would be put in place within two months to effectively manage the affairs of the Club.
The Director Information assured the journalists that the Department would provide all possible support to them to make the Press Club fully functional. He also assured them that the welfare issues raised by them would be taken up at the appropriate quarters in the Government.
Among other issues, formulation of Grievance Redressal Committee was also discussed which will look after issues being faced by the journalists while performing their professional duties and taking cognizance of complaints and action taken thereafter.
The KEG members who were present at the meeting include Fayaz Ahmad Kaloo, Editor, Greater Kashmir Group of Publications, Bashir Manzar, Editor, Kashmir Images, Tahir Mohi-ud-Din, Editor Chattan, Dr Syed Shujaat Bukhari, Editor-in-Chief, Kashmir Media Group, Manzoor Anjum, Editor Uqab, Bashir Ahmad Bashir, Editor, Srinagar Times, Ghulam Jeelani Qadri, Editor Afaaq, Raja Mohi-ud-Din, Editor Tameel-e-Irshad, Haji Mohammad Hayat, Printer & Publisher, Kashmir Reader, Haroon Rashid Shah, Editor, Nidai-e-Mashriq, Sajjad Haider, Editor Kashmir Observer, Masood Hussain, Editor Kashmir Life, Shafat Kira, Editor, Kashmir Vision among other members.
The meeting was also attended by Joint Director (headquarter) Department of Information and Public Relations, Abdul Majeed Zargar among other officials of the Department.