KARACHI: The All Pakistan Newspapers Society has expressed concern over the government’s advertisement policy and criticised the Press Information Department for “misusing the quota for regional publications” by releasing ads “out of their share to metropolitan publications”.

Sarmad Ali, the society’s secretary general, said in a statement released on Monday that the APNS executive committee, at a meeting held under the chairmanship of Hameed Haroon in Karachi, noted that the federal and Punjab governments were depriving smaller and medium-size newspapers of their advertisement quota.

“This situation has exacerbated the financial crunch being faced by the newspaper industry due to increase in the newsprint prices, the rupee’s depreciation and non-payment of dues by the federal and provincial governments,” the APNS said.

The executive committee reviewed the government’s proposed media policy and expressed fears that if the policy was implemented in its present form, it would ruin the media industry.

The members were of the opinion that if the information ministry went ahead with its proposals to control the flow of information, including centralisation of advertising, it would compromise the people’s right to know as granted by Articles 19 and 19(a) of the constitution.

“This policy will not only weaken the fourth pillar of the state but also result in destabilising the democratic order,” the executive committee said.

It called upon the federal government to initiate consultations with the stakeholders on its media policy.

Published in Dawn, January 15th, 2019

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