Info deptt ‘punishes’ Precious Kashmir, Alsafa News for highlighting unfair advt distribution

Info deptt ‘punishes’ Precious Kashmir, Alsafa News for highlighting unfair advt distribution
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Afaq Bhat

Srinagar, Dec 11: The state run Information department is yet again pushing the local dailies to edge in Kashmir by choking the advertisement flow.
Officials of the Information department have taken a special liking towards daily Precious Kashmir and Alsafa News as both the newspapers have been continuously highlighting the unfair distribution of advertisements.
Despite both the dailies having requisite infrastructure and staff at place the Information department has turned a blind eye towards both these dailies.
For the past many months these dailies have been getting a few hundred centimeters monthly on the name of government advertisements. These advertisements don’t come daily. The department has fixed a few days for sending advertisements to both these dailies and on the average both these dailies don’t get more than 150 to 200 centimeters advertisements in a week.
People who are handling the Information department don’t find it necessary to even explain it to the owners and editors of local dailies how they are distributing the advertisements.
The managements of Precious Kashmir and Alsafa news on many occasions have tried to ask the officials about the criteria they follow to distribute the advertisements. “We are in process of implementing the new advertisement policy,” officials have been giving this reply for the past 2-years.
The much hyped categorization process of the newspapers is yet to start as the department recently collected the documents for the scrutiny. There is too much of confusion even within the department. They have no answers for choking the advertisement flow. Neither have they found it necessary to tell the people associated with the local media about the criteria they are following at present.
If the Information department fails to come clear on the advertisement distribution process Precious Kashmir and Alsafa News would be left with no other option other than to approach the court to know the reason behind the injustice being done with these dailies.
Unfair distribution of government advertisements has broken the back of many dailies in Kashmir. The people at the helm seem least interested in addressing the problems faced by the local media. The rigid approach of the officials of the Information department has become a big impediment between the government and the local media. “It’s not Precious Kashmir and Alsafa News which are suffering. Many newspapers are sailing in the same boat. The lack of support from the government has led to many local newspapers winding up their operations in the Valley. Many people have been rendered jobless,” said an editor of a local daily.
He urged Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, who also holds the charge of Information ministry, to look into the matter and help the local dailies to survive in Kashmir.