5 months on, Info deptt fails to release advertisement payments

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Afaq Bhat

Srinagar, Dec 26: The state run Information department has failed to fulfill the much hyped commitments which it made to the newspaper owners and editors during the past few months.
An editor of a local daily while talking to Precious Kashmir said, “After curtailing the advertisement flow, the Information department has withheld the advertisement payments of the newspapers for the past five months. Not a single bill has been released during these months.”
He said that nearly a month ago the Information department announced that advertisement rates would be revised and newspapers would be categorized. “Till now nothing has been done. During the past three years the department has made many announcements but nothing has been implemented,” the editor added.
He said, “Experiments conducted by the officials of the Information department have failed miserably. They have not been able to achieve anything. They have just misled the politicians and have crushed the local media in Kashmir.”
An editor of another local daily said the much hyped categorization process has proved to be a damp squib. “An army of employees in the department has failed to categorize the newspapers. Speculations are rife that Information department wants to give best categories to the newspapers, whose owners and editors enjoy political backing and the merit has already taken a back seat,” he alleged.
An insider revealed that wrong policies of the people running the Information department are responsible for the present mess within the department. “Many officials consider this department as a cell and don’t want to work. They keep on indulging in useless experiments just to make their presence felt. Otherwise everyone knows that department has lost the sheen and it’s in shambles,” he added.
He said, “Local dailies used o carry the government press notes prominently when the department used to distribute the advertisements rationally. Now the trend has changed. The dailies don’t give much coverage to the activities being carried out by the government. The developmental activities don’t get desired publicity . Choking of advertisements and irrational policies followed by the department have even led to the decline in the publicity of the good work done by the government.”
Editor of another local daily said, “Attempts of the Information department to control the media have backfired. Even their attempt to crush the media have not yielded the desired results the newspapers which have survived this onslaught have become more active and aggressive. Failure of the Information department to highlight the achievements of the government and to project the work of the concerned ministers in right perspective has created a notion that nothing is happening on the ground.”
He said, “It’s strange that despite Information department not being able to project the government the people at the helm have not taken any step to revamp the department and get rid of the non-performing officers.”