Precious Kashmir News
Srinagar, Nov 20: For the state run Information there is no difference between a colour and black and white newspapers being published in Kashmir.
A reply under Right to Information Act sought by a newspaper owner has revealed that Department of Information and Public Relations doesn’t differentiate between a colour and a black and white newspaper when it comes to the distribution of advertisements.
The Department has mentioned that the government has paid Rs 31 crores to newspapers during 2016-2017, while the Kashmir based newspapers received Rs 17 crores in 2016-2017 including liabilities from 2013 and near about 1/3 has been paid from the same budget and from the same date to national newspapers. The same practice was adopted in this financial year (2017-2018).
The information supplied by the department reveals that the DIPR has not made any distinction between a colour and a black and white newspaper and has distributed advertisements to them on equal basis. In one such case a weekly newspaper has received 430-510 cm advertisement for 4 issues while a daily colour newspaper received 700-1060cm in 25 issues.
In another bizarre instance, a newspaper that had stopped publication 3 months ago has received 50 cms of advertisements till October 5 and 440cms in September while a daily colour newspaper had not received a single advertisement till October 14 this year.
A source said that officials of the Information department have started believing that they can get away with anything as they are not answerable to anyone. “During the past three years no one has asked them what they are doing. Despite news reports and RTIs being filed nothing has changed on the ground. Officials have remained untouched and they have carried on in the way they like,” said an editor of a local daily.
He said that as per the criteria the Information Department has to differentiate between a black and white and a coloured newspaper. The advertisements have to be distributed fairly. “Unfortunately the department has shelved off all the criteria and methods. The officials distribute the advertisements according to their wishes and choice. If any of the newspaper editor questions them. His newspaper is blacklisted and if any newspaper dares to write against the department that publication doesn’t get the advertisements for weeks together,” the editor added.
He said that ministers and ruling party members are least bothered about local media being trampled. “They have no time for the local press. Recently a few members of the journalist fraternity met the newly appointed Interlocutor Dineshwar Sharma in Srinagar and apprised him about the local media being ignored,” the editor added.
He said that present regime by ignoring the local media has done more harm to itself rather than the media organizations which it apparently wants to trample.