CPNE concerned at abolishment of regional ads quota

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KARACHI, MAY 10 (DNA) – The Council of Pakistan Newspapers Editors (CPNE) has said the role of independent and responsible media has become more important in the context of public awareness during current crisis and there is an urgent need for all stakeholders including federal and provincial governments to reflect the situation of coronavirus, financial and other difficulties faced by the people so that they can tackle the current problems.

These views were expressed by CPNE President Arif Nizami at a meeting of Standing Committee, which was attended by Standing Committee Members from across the country through video link.

In the meeting, the Standing Committee Members have passed a resolution stating that the Federal Government, by abolishing government’s advertisements quota of local and regional newspapers and periodicals across the country, has brought these newspapers & periodicals to the brink of closure which will create more unemployment and poverty.

The regional and local newspapers & periodicals are not only the backbone of responsible and strong media, but they are also providing journalism-related human resource training and manpower to main stream media outlets and other institutions. In addition, the local media also provides basic platform to highlight local problems and issues related to economy and leadership. The government’s policy to ignore regional and local media outlets can extremely damage all the country’s institutions.

The CPNE said the government’s advertisements are very important for all newspapers & periodicals and its distribution to only few selected newspapers will be a very unfair and undemocratic act, therefore, the CPNE has urged that the government must initiate probe of the irregularities, corruption and looting of public exchequers in the issuance of government advertisements in the past and in this regard, a policy should be formulated on an emergency basis to address it in the future.

The CPNE further claimed that the government and provinces should also realize the fact that mainstream media are covering the four or five big cities in the country, whereas regional and local newspapers & periodicals – spread all over Pakistan including districts, cities, regions –have a profound effect on entire society. CPNE demands that 25 per cent quota of regional and local newspapers & periodicals in government advertisements should be restored and fully implemented. This step will be of great help to the local media and newspapers in playing their important role in the domain of country’s journalistic, economic, social and intellectual awareness.

The CPNE, expressing concern over the long-standing dues of government advertisements of media houses, said that thousands of media workers and their media outlets are severely affected due to this unfair practice. Owing to the prolonged lockdown in the country and preparations of upcoming Eid-ul-Fitr, the media outlets and media workers are facing financial difficulties.

In the meeting, the CPNE requested federal and provincial governments to immediately release direct payments of their dues to media outlets so that salaries of media workers could be paid before Eid-ul-Fitr.  Any kind of indirect payment may create further problems for media workers as the indirect payments released by the governments in past to various companies never reach the media outlets.

The CPNE, criticizing over centralization of media selection of government advertisements, demands for ensuring fair, transparent and inclusive and wide spread of distribution of government advertisements. It said that it is not appropriate for the government to give advertisements at the mercy of one or two people of the center since this would lead to increasing human error, injustice and corruption. The CPNE demanded that government should restore previous authorityby regional PID Offices as well as concerned govt. offices, departments and institutions for media selection of government advertisements.

The CPNE has demanded the governments to release the approved funds of local news agencies. It said that the federal government was not issuing their funds for last two years despite its approval from the National Assembly. The meeting also expressed its deep concern over the suspension of NEO TV license by the government and demanded restoration of NEO TV so that hundreds of people connected to it could be saved from unemployment.=DNA

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