KARACHI: The Sindh Assembly was on Tuesday informed that as many as 743 newspapers and periodicals — dailies, weeklies and monthlies — were being published across the province.
While furnishing a statement and replies to the lawmakers’ queries during the Question Hour session of the provincial assembly, provincial information minister Saeed Ghani said the publications included 413 daily newspapers and 133 monthly magazines.
In reply to a question asked by Grand Democratic Alliance’s member Arif Mustafa Jatoi, the minister gave a language-wise breakup of the dailies and said that 226 were published in Urdu, 49 in English, 134 in Sindhi, three in Gujarati and one daily newspaper was published in Balochi.
‘68 news agencies working in the province’
Mr Ghani further informed the lawmakers that 81 weeklies were published in Urdu, 12 in English, six in Sindhi and one in Gujarati. “There are 133 monthly magazines published in Urdu, 35 in English and 10 in Sindhi,” he added.
The minister said that 17 magazines were being published fortnightly in Urdu, six in English and four in Sindhi.
Besides, he said, five quarterly magazines were published in Urdu and one in English, adding that two half-yearly magazines were published in Urdu.
Answering a verbal question by Mr Jatoi, the minister said that the government advertisements would be given only to those publications which were registered in the media list of the provincial information department.
He said the circulation size of a publication was not a condition for giving government advertisements.
Mr Ghani said that the government always wanted to support financially the lowly circulated publications and this practice would continue in the future as well.
In reply to a supplementary question, he said that at present the affairs of the provincial information department were being run under the Press, Newpapers, News Agencies and Books Registration Ordinance 2002 and added that provincial law could be formulated after the devolution of powers to the provinces under the 18th Amendment in the Constitution. “The working in this regard had been initiated last year but a committee was formed to address the reservations expressed by a few of the journalists’ associations on the matter,” he added.
The minister said that the draft of new law would be presented before the provincial assembly after the satisfaction of all stakeholders.
In reply to a written question by GDA’s Jatoi, he said that the facilities for consulting old records and manuscripts of the 19th century around 40,000 books were available in the research library of the information and archives department for the public during office hours. “The researchers and scholars are provided calm and quite atmosphere for their research work”, he added.
Answering another question by the opposition member, the minister said that the information department issued news and press releases on government activities through print and electronic media. “Besides, a post of director general (social media) has already been created to highlight the activities and performance of the provincial government on social media through the internet,” he added.
In reply to a question asked by Pakistan Peoples Party member Ghazala Siyal, the minister said that as many as 68 news agencies were working in the province.
Published in Dawn, August 21st, 2019