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APNS criticises govt’s indifference towards problems of newspapers

APNS criticises govt’s indifference towards problems of newspapers

KARACHI: The executive committee of the All Pakistan Newspapers Society criticised what it described as consistent indifference of the federal government, especially the information ministry, towards long-pending issues of the newspaper industry, said an APNS press release on Tuesday.

It said that at a meeting chaired by APNS President Hameed Haroon, members of the committee expressed concern over non-payment of dues of member publications and advertising agencies by the federal government for the current year as well as non-payment of long outstanding dues owed by devolved ministries and the federal government departments, for which the prime minister had already approved the summaries.

The non-payment of dues had caused acute financial crunch in the newspaper industry, said the press release.

The executive committee also noted that the share for print media in the campaigns launched by the federal government was consistently declining. This had resulted in a sharp decrease in advertisements in newspapers which in turn had made it difficult for smaller and regional publications to survive.

According to the APNS statement, the committee also observed that adviser on information, then secretary information and the PIO had assured that the problems would be resolved soon, including increased advertising share for print media, notification of increase in rates pending for three years and payment of dues at the earliest. But these assurances were yet to be honoured.

The members of the committee deplored that meeting of the joint committee of the APNS, CPNE and the PID, formed on the initiative of PIO, had not been convened despite a lapse of about four months.

The executive committee also noted that the provincial governments of Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab were avoiding making payments towards the dues of member publications and advertising agencies pending since long.

The statement said the committee urged the governments of Sindh, Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to clear the dues of member publications and ensure equitable distribution of ads to genuine publications at the earliest in order to save the industry from the financial crunch.

The executive committee also adopted the annual report for 2015-16 presented by APNS Secretary General Sarmad Ali and decided that the Annual General Council Meeting would be held on March 30 in Karachi.

The general council would elect the executive committee for the year 2016-17, said the APNS statement.

Published in Dawn, March 16th, 2016

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