Info deptt back to its old tactics, ‘powerful’ officials don’t care!

Info deptt back to its old tactics, ‘powerful’ officials don’t care!

Afaq Bhat
Srinagar, Nov 19: Despite remaining in news for resorting to unfair distribution of the government advertisements, the state run Information department is continuing with its “vendetta policy” towards the local dailies being published from Srinagar.
Since the day Information portfolio has been taken back from Chaduary Zulfikar the officials of the department have become more “powerful” and have started believing that they “can do anything.” They have again choked the advertisement flow. They are not taking advertisement bills from the newspapers and are least bothered about whether the government press notes of the ministers are carried by the local dailies or not.
“The Information department seems to have gone haywire with officials being accountable to none. They seem to be on the mission to crush the local media and have succeeded in their endeavor to a great extent,” said an editor of a local daily.
He said the tall claims about making the department transparent, releasing the advertisement payments on time have proved to be a hoax. “The Jammu and Kashmir government needs to come clear on the media policy being followed in Kashmir. There are hundreds of people associated with local media in the Valley. Most of them have lost their jobs and others are at the verge of being laid off. Rendering hundreds of people jobless is the main achievement of the PDP-BJP coalition government in the state,” the editor lamented.
A manager of a local daily said, “Kashmir media industry is facing one of the worst phases and the people associated with this industry have no idea when this phase would get over. For the past three years media in the Valley has been facing an undeclared war. The onslaught has been so severe that the newspapers which couldn’t survive have already winded up their operations and have bowed out. The ones that are surviving and have made huge investments in offices and printing presses have no way out other than to carry on despite facing huge losses.”
It’s in place to mention here that outgoing Information Minister Chaudary Zulfikar had ordered a probe into the alleged discrepancies in the Information department and the enquiry panel was asked to submit its report within a month but it seems the enquiry has been shelved. “It’s high time for the J&K government to announce officially that no advertisements would be given to the local dailies and only those newspapers would be entertained whose owners are politically connected and enjoy the patronage of the ruling elite,” said an editor of a prominent local daily.
He said, “The Information portfolio is with the Chief Minister. She needs to intervene to end this discrimination and vendetta policy being followed by the officials of the Information department.”
Despite repeated attempts Director Information could not be contacted for his comments.