KARACHI: The All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS) has expressed its grave concern over the disastrous effects of the media policies of the federal and provincial governments and urged upon the governments to consult the stakeholders for their reversal.
The Executive Committee of the APNS, at its meeting held on March 8, 2021 chaired by President Hameed Haroon, considered the state of print media and noted that the new media policies have devastating effects on the member publications especially, the smaller and regional publications, which are facing acute financial crunch.
They were of the considered view if these policies were not reviewed in consultation with the APNS, many publications will have to close down their operations, resulting in a large scale retrenchment and unemployment of journalists and media workers. The Executive Committee noted that under the new policy, the PID and provincial Information Departments of the Punjab and KPK have been empowered to select the media for the government advertising, thus depriving the clients of their rights to choose the respective media for dissemination of their message.
This has resulted in considerable decrease in the quantum of advertisements as the sponsoring departments have curtailed advertising because they believe that their advertising was being given to mostly unknown newspapers, which results in wastage of their budgets.
The committee urged upon the federal government to restore the rights of the client departments to select their media and authorize the regional offices of PID to recommend newspapers in their respective regions.The members of the Executive Committee complained that in distribution of advertisements, genuine publications were being ignored.
This is evident from the advertisement of the Ministry of Information released on March 7, which was issued to 143 APNS members and 112 non-APNS mostly non-existing publications.In another resolution, the Executive Committee noted that with the new policy, the slow payment process of government advertisements has had a negative impact on the newspapers. This situation has resulted in acute liquidity crisis for the member publications, which needs to be addressed by the federal and provincial governments on a priority basis.
The Executive Committee decided that as a first step, the APNS will suspend the sponsoring clients, who have not made the payments against their advertisements. In the second stage, APNS may consider suspending the entire government advertising.Through another Executive Committee resolution, it was noted that the DGPR, Punjab, has curtailed the quantum of ads and stopped payments as a consequence of new policy, particularly, the payment against SPL advertisements has completely stopped.
The members urged upon the Punjab government to restore the pre-policy mechanism of payment without further delay.The Executive Committee also adopted the annual report for last two years and the audit report for 2019-2020 and decided to hold its General Council meeting on March 24, 2021 at the APNS House, Karachi. The Executive Committee offered Fateha on the sad demise of Imran Ahmed, son of Mushtaq Ahmed Qureshi, Mr. and Mrs.Shahzad Akhund, brother-in-law of Kazi Asad Abid, Haji Muhammad Hasan Khan, elder brother of Sardar Khan Niazi, Syed Asif Ali, brother-in-law of S.M. Munir Jilani, Maj. Gen. Hidayatullah Khan Niazi, father-in-law of Sardar Khan Niazi, and eldest sister of Mehtab Khan.The following attended the meeting: Hameed Haroon, President, Sarmad Ali, Secretary General, Syed Muhammad Munir Jilani, Joint Secretary, Shahab Zuberi, Finance Secretary, Mehtab Khan (Daily Ausaf), Fauzia Shaheen (Monthly Dastak), Najamuddin Sheikh (D/Deynat), Kazi Asad Abid (Fortnightly Ibrat), Syed Akbar Tahir (D/Jasarat), Faisal Shahjehan (Daily Jiddat, Karachi), Javed Mehr Shamsi (Daily Kaleem), Aslam Leghari (Daily Kawish), Muhammad Manzoor Rana (Daily Mashriq, Quetta), Mushtaq Ahmed Qureshi (M/Naey Ufaq), Faisal Zahid Malik (D/Pakistan Observer), Dr. Waqar Yousuf Azeemi (M/Roohani Digest), Khushnood Ali Khan (Daily Sahafat), Humayun Gulzar (Daily Saydat), Riaz Ahmed Mansuri (M/The Cricketer) and Muhammad Saleem (Daily Sindh Sujaag).
The following attended the meeting on Zoom: Mumtaz A. Tahir, Vice President, Syed Sajjad Bokhari (D/ Abtak), Waseem Ahmed (D/Awam, Quetta), Hamayun Tariq (D/Business Report), Ansar Mahmood Bhatti (Monthly Centre Line), Syed Ayaz Badshah (Daily/ Mashriq, Peshawar), Sardar Khan Niazi (M/Naya Rukh), Rukhsana Saulat Saleemi (Weekly Nikhar), Umer Mujib Shami (D/Pakistan, Lahore), Jamil Athar (D/Tijarat) and Prof. S.B. Hasan (M/Investment & Marketing). Naz Afreen Saigal Lakhani (D/Dawn) attended as special observer.