The Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE) has welcomed the federal information ministry’s move to hold consultation with CPNE over the proposed new advertisement policy.
CPNE has termed the decisions taken in the proposed policy such as the legal, just, transparent and unbiased distribution of advertisements, banning distribution of advertisements for the purposes of reward or punishment of a newspaper’s editorial policy and direct release of ads to newspapers and their dues as commendable and newspaper-friendly moves.
However, serious reservations were expressed at over-centralisation in ads distribution in which the 25 per cent quota for regional newspaper has been abolished and small newspapers have been neglected. According to a press release of CPNE, a standing committee meeting of the CPNE presided by the CPNE President Arif Nizami examined the proposed advertisement policy in detail after which the introduction of the proposed policy and the first two pages of the document based on the objectives were declared encouraging and commendable.
It is because the Federal Information Ministry for the first time has taken decisions in support of media pluralism and diversity, the statement said. They ensure transparent, clean and purposeful expenditure of advertisement funds and stopping the distribution of advertisements on political grounds.
The CPNE declared support for the inclusion of clauses of the distribution of ads impartially and the terming of biased distribution of ads as being against the freedom of expression.
However it termed the abolishing of the 25 per cent quota for regional newspapers and ignoring of small to medium sized newspapers published in metropolitan cities as equivalent to causing loss to journalists and workers of the regional and small newspapers.
The standing committee of the CPNE demanded that the 25 per cent quota of the local newspapers in the federal advertisements be restored and release of ads to small to medium sized newspapers be ensured.
The CPNE has also termed the decision to end the local authority with regard to distribution of advertisements of the federation’s autonomous government institutions and departments as irrational.
It has severely opposed this move and has declared the committee consisting of government officers formed for the supervision of the distribution of government advertisements as being one-sided.
The CPNE has demanded inclusion of its representatives in the committee. It expressed doubts over the mention of national newspapers in the proposed policy as this was neither defined nor clarified.
The CPNE has decided that there is a strong need for changes and amendments and reforms in certain clauses of the proposed ads policy for which the CPNE will send its recommendations based on its point of view to the Information Ministry.