Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan, Advisor to the Prime Minister on Information has stated that the proposed advertising policy is not final and will be finalized in consultation with the APNS and other stakeholders. She invited input from the stakeholders on the proposed policy at the earliest. The Advisor was speaking to the Executive Committee of the APNS wherein the Principal Information Officer, Muhammad Tahir Hassan also attended and explained the salient features of proposed Policy.
Hameed Haroon, President APNS informed the Advisor that the proposed Policy will drastically affect the advertising revenue of all segments of the newspaper industry especially, medium and regional publications. He stated that the APNS Executive Committee was of the considered opinion that the policy if implemented in the present form will be used as a lever to control the media and curb freedom of press. Further, it would result in mass scale retrenchment and layoff in the newspapers and closure of many publications.
Hameed Haroon briefed the advisor that the APNS has examined and discussed the policy in detail and observed that it seems that even before its draft policy has already deprived the sponsoring corporations, autonomous bodies, departments and ministries of their right to select the media for their communication and has curtailed the powers of the regional offices of PID to recommend media of their respective areas.
In the age of decentralization, over centralization of all advertising in the hands of few PID officials based in Islamabad and depriving advertising agencies of their role in the Federal Government advertising is alarming. He informed the Advisor that the APNS is in the process of finalizing of its proposals on the Policy which would be provided to the Ministry of Information within a week. Sarmad Ali, Secretary General, APNS pointed out that quantum of Federal Government advertisements has considerably decreased.