APNS to launch campaign to highlights papers problems
The Executive Committee of the APNS dismayed the consistent indifference of the Federal Government to address long standing problems of the newspaper industry and decided to launch an advertisement campaign to highlight issues for public awareness and seek the attention of the Prime Minister for resolution of the problems at the earliest.
Masood Hamid, Secretary General, APNS announcing the decision of the Executive Committee meeting held under the chairmanship of Sarmad Ali, President stated that the members of the Executive Committee across the country, considered the crisis faced by the industry due to the failure of the Federal Government in addressing the issues. The Executive Committee in a special resolution, noted with grave concern that not only the Federal Government has paid no heed to various requests by the APNS for payment of outstanding dues relating to the Federal Government advertisements for the period 20082012, payment of the dues relating to the devolved ministries, outstanding against the Federal Board of Revenue as well as the Ministry of Information.
The APNS has time and again made presentations for which, many assurances were made by no less than the Federal Minister for Information and Federal Finance Minister but the Government has also failed to honor its commitments. The APNS noted that the 10% annual increase in advertisement tariff rates of newspapers and increase in the quantum of ads to regional and Metro B publications was also pending for notification and implementation. It was observed that the present Advertisement Policy has further reduced the quantum of ads which has badly affected the economies of small and medium sized publications including regional language publications. The Executive Committee noted that the current dues of advertising agencies related to the ads published in member publications were also not being paid by the AGPR with frivolous and baseless objections.
The advertising agencies have informed the APNS that the AGPR has refused to entertain the sanctions of payment by different government departments and ministries on the plea that the Supreme Court had stayed the payments of advertisement bills. The AGPR has refused to accept that the Supreme Court had not only vacated the stay but the case was altogether dismissed on July 08, 2013. The Executive Committee noted that AGPR in an unprecedented and highly objectionable move, had restrained the cheque branch of the AGPR that all the bills relating to media groups / advertisements, should not be entertained without the approval of the Accountant General.
This behavior of the AGPR is not only damaging the newspaper industry but also badly affecting the Government – Press relations. The Executive Committee also noted with alarm a circular issued by NAB to various departments and ministries regarding advertisements in newspapers and considered this circular beyond the mandate of NAB and as another attempt by the bureaucracy to damage government press relations. The Executive Committee was of the view that the bureaucracy in form of AGPR and NAB are deliberately damaging the cordial relations between the press and the government to serve their nefarious designs.
It asked the Prime Minister to take immediate notice of such ill designs. The Executive Committee decided to launch an advertising campaign in its member publications in the first week of January 2014 to highlight the dire state of the newspaper industry which will be followed by suspension of all Federal Government advertisements and a protest strike to urge upon the Federal Government to act and resolve the problems of the newspapers industry at the earliest as the situation has threatened the very survival of many small and medium sized newspapers. The Executive Committee also noted that the Press Information Department was releasing advertisements without statutory allocation of 25% quota for regional publications.
It was also pointed out that certain Federal Government departments were releasing their ads directly without routing through the PID to avoid additions. The Executive Committee decided that after December 31, 2013, the ads released without addition of 25% quota and / or the PID Number, would be published on tariff rates of publications only. The Executive Committee approved the recommendation of the Advertising Committee for Restructuring / Change of Status of M/s. Mediators (Pvt.) Ltd., Karachi and M/s. Prometheus (Pvt.) Ltd. It also approved Provisional Accreditation of M/s. Super Media Communications, Islamabad and M/s. Prelude Advertising, Karachi. The accreditation of M/s. X Nine Communication ( Pvt.) Ltd., Karachi was confirmed w.e.f. January 01, 2014. The Executive Committee also considered the applications for change of publishers of Monthly Akhbar-e- Watan, Karachi, Daily Pasban, Hyderabad and Daily Fory Action, Faisalabad and approved the change of publishers of publications.
The meeting was attended by the following: Sarmad Ali, President, Masood Hamid, Secretary General, Waseem Ahmed, Finance Secretary, Mumtaz A. Tahir (D/Aftab), Mehtab Khan (D/Ausaf), Syed Faseih Iqbal (D/Balochistan Times), Shahab Zuberi (D/Business Recorder), Humayon Tariq (D/Business Report), Aijaz-ul-Haq (D/Express), Mukhtar Aqil (D/Jurat, Khi), Javed Mehr Shamsi (D/ Kaleem), Muhammad Aslam Kazi (D/Kawish, Hyd.), Mian Akbar Ali (D/Khabrain), Abbas Abdul Latif (D/Nawa-i-Waqt), Salman Qureshi ( M/ Naya Rukh), Umar Mujib Shami (D/ Pakistan, Lhr), Faisal Zahid Malik (D/Pakistan Observer), Ilyas Shakir (D/Qaumi Akhbar), Dr. Waqar Yousuf Azeemi (M/ Roohani Digest), Khushnood Ali Khan ( D/ Sahafat), Humayun Gulzar (D/Sayadat, Bahawalpur), Riaz Ahmed Mansuri (M/The Cricketer) and Prof. S.B. Hasan (M/Investment & Marketing).—PR