Secretary Information assures to resolve newspapers problems

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Says summary to increase rates already sent to PM; determines to ensure ads to genuine publications only

ISLAMABAD, FEB 17 /DNA/ – The Federal Information Secretary Ms. Shahera Shahid has assured that the genuine problems of the newspapers and periodicals shall be addressed on priority basis adding the government was fully alive to the hardship faced by the newspaper industry.

She expressed these views while talking to the delegation of the Federal Committee of the APNS that called on her at her office.

Revision of current rates was the main agenda item. All members requested the Secretary to take up the rates matter with the concerned authorities, upon which the Secretary told that a threadbare discussion had already been held on the subject and the summary for increase in rates @ 35 per cent had already been sent to the Prime Minister for approval.

It was informed by the Committee that the recovery process of the payment is in good position under the present PIO however the outstanding payments also need to materialize. The PIO informed that the PID is in process to clear all the outstanding payments.

In the opening remarks, the members of APNS expressed satisfaction over distribution of advertisement to the newspapers and appreciated the expeditious processing of advertisement claims/bills and subsequent payments to media houses and advertisement agencies by PID during the ongoing financial year. The members raised the issue of dummy newspapers and allocation of advertisement to non-APNS newspapers.

The Secretary supported the stance of the APNS members regarding revision of rates in view of staggering inflation and apprised about the efforts being made by the Ministry and the limitations faced due to the precarious economic situation in the country.

She affirmed to review the policy regarding distribution of advertisements to weekly and monthly magazines/periodicals by giving appropriate share in the overall distribution.

Upon request by the members of APNS not to change the media suggested in the client order and subsequent additions by PID, the Secretary highlighted the mandate of the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting to ensure fair distribution of advertisement among mainstream, regional and local newspapers. The Chair further reiterated that PID is responsible for maintaining a balance in distribution of advertisements by accommodating all newspapers/stakeholders as per Federal Advertisement Policy in vogue.

The participants evolved consensus on detailed scrutiny of newspapers to eliminate dummy newspapers. PIO suggested introducing a system of digital attendance (based on barcode) to streamline absentee/dummy newspapers. All the participants appreciated the idea and requested to implement the aforesaid system at the earliest possible in order to have a genuine list of newspapers for accurate distribution of advertisements.

She informed the participants that Ministry is fully aware of all the outstanding advertisement dues accumulated in the past and is working out a plan to clear the dues by federal ministries/departments through a transparent process in a due course of time.

She  highlighted that Federal Government Advertisement Policy provides 25% quota for the regional newspapers in order to encourage the regional language newspapers and local newspapers industry. PID will evolve a mechanism & ensure that the quota is distributed fairly among those newspapers.

The Secretary Information pointed out some Regional newspapers have complaints that they are not given membership. The Secretary was informed that there is no restriction on membership of Regional newspapers, if they fulfill the criteria.

It was agreed by the Secretary Information and PIO to meet the Committee at least once in month to update the progress.

The meeting was attended by the following members: Mrs. Shahera Shahid, Secretary, MOIB   In-Chair, Manzoor Ali Memon, Director General, IP Wing Mobashir Hassan, PIO,PID , Ms. Zoobia Masood, Deputy Secretary, MOIB , Muhammad Saleh, Director (Advt), PID , Gauhar Zahid Malik Executive Editor, Pakistan Observer    Chairman, Ms. Rukhsana Sulat, Monthly Nikhar   Member , . Khushnood Ali Khan, Daily Sahafat   Member , . Waseem Ahmed, Daily Awam   Member , . Mohsin Bilal, Daily Ausaf   Member , Agha Bilal, Daily Dawn   Member ,Ansar Mahmood Bhatti, Islamabad Post/Centreline   Member , . Danish Iftikhar, Daily Asas   Member,  Inayat Ullah Niazi, Daily Pakistan/Patriot   Member ,Hadique Tahir, Daily Nawa-e-Pak   Member.=DNA

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