Srinagar, Dec 31: Kashmir Editors Guild recently hit out at the state run Information department apparently for not following its “diktats.”
In a statement here a KEG spokesman alleged that the institution of media was being “subverted” in Kashmir under the Governor’s administration. “But the fact is that since the day Governor’s rule has been imposed in the state the Information department has accommodated most of the dailies which are published from Srinagar,” said an editor of a local daily.
He said that the dailies which had been ignored during the tenure of the erstwhile PDP-BJP government due to the “political influence” enjoyed by few editors have heaved a sigh of relief during the past six months. “It’s unfortunate that the KEG which comprises of just few newspapers has been calling the shots. The KEG believes that the government advertisements are only meant for handful of dailies and others should be asked to wind up their operations,” the editor said.
He expressed dismay over the fact that KEG in a veiled reference to other dailies has said: “The department has been liberally accommodating the new stakeholders on the advertisement front in such a way that it is used as a quid pro quo.”
Another editor said that it’s unfortunate that the Kashmir Editors Guild comprising of just few newspapers wants its “writ and monopoly” to prevail. “It seems that KEG is perturbed due to it being sidelined after the imposition of Governor’s rule in the state. The influential editors are not being heard due to politicians cooling their heels,” the editor added.
He said that the funds which government earmarks for the advertisements are meant for all the dailies and weeklies which have been empanelled by the Information department and not for only a few newspapers. “It’s sad that a group of editors is trying to intimidate the Information department to toe their line and compel others to close down their ventures. If one just checks the government advertisements, which have gone to the dailies that are part of the KEG, he will come to know that Lion’s share has been bagged by the newspapers that are a part of the KEG. Other newspapers have just got peanuts but the unfortunate part is that the KEG wants those peanuts should also fall in its kitty,” the editor added.
He said that KEG has made an attempt to drive home a point that the government should “only recognize” them and dump the other associations. “It’s unfortunate that few media barons want to hijack the entire setup and are dictating terms to the government,” the editor added.
He said that the fall of the PDP-BJP government in Jammu and Kashmir proved to be a “blessing in a disguise” for the local dailies as the Governor’s administration ended the discrimination vis-à-vis the distribution of the government advertisements among the local dailies. “It seems this has infuriated the KEG and it has started targeting the Information department for giving up the biased approach,” he added.