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April 6, 2020

New procedure to release govt ads, payment: APNS shows concern over notification

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April 6, 2020

KARACHI: The APNS has expressed its reservations on the notification issued by the Ministry of Information on April 3 2020, wherein a new procedure of release of government advertisements and payment of advertisement bills has been notified.

Hameed Haroon, President, and Sarmad Ali, Secretary General, APNS, have stated that the mechanism was proposed in the Draft Centralised Advertising Policy, which has not yet been finalised through the consultations with the stakeholders namely APNS, PBA and PAA as assured by the Ministry of Information. The APNS, PBA and PAA have already submitted their position papers but so far no consultation meeting has been convened by the ministry.

The APNS reiterated that the unilateral issuance of the notification by the Ministry of Information strongly suggests that the consultation process is meaningless for the ministry as it has already decided to implement the draft policy inimical to fundamental press freedom.

The APNS office-bearers stated that the proposed mechanism is not feasible as presently all government advertising, display as well as classified, is released by advertising agencies, which recover the payment of ads from sponsor departments and clear the dues of newspapers.

If the proposed mechanism is enforced by the ministry, the releasing advertising agencies would be absolved of their responsibility of payment and newspapers would have to run from pillar to post for the recovery of their bills.

The notification, while proposing a new mechanism for payment of government advertisements, has fixed agency commission of 15%, which is in direct contravention of the clear instructions of Competition the Commission of Pakistan that newspapers share trade discount to agencies as per bilaterally agreed rates.

The APNS, therefore, urged the ministry to withdraw the above notification and refrain from implementing the new draft policy until it is finalised in consultation with the stakeholders.