Govt committed to freedom of press: Firdous


Staff Reporter


“Dr. Firdous Ashiq Awan, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information has assured the APNS that the Federal Government is committed to Freedom of Press and address the problems faced by the newspaper industry.
Dr. Firdous Ashiq Awan visited the APNS House and held a meeting with the APNS members wherein she was apprised on the acute financial crisis faced by the newspaper industry for last two years. Hameed Haroon, President, APNS and Sarmad Ali, Secretary General briefly stated that due to considerable decline in the quantum of advertising in newspapers, non-payment of long pending dues against the Federal and Provincial governments, decrease in the private sector advertising due to economic slowdown and increase in the cost of newspaper imports caused by depreciation of Pak Rupee, the newspaper industry is facing hardship and financial crunch.
They emphasized that the Federal Government should help the industry through a bailout package and expedite payment of outstanding dues as well as increase the quantum of advertisements to APNS member publications. The APNS Office Bearers pointed out that the government advertising rates were increased by 50% during last 18 years whereas the inflation as per CPI was registered over 200%. They demanded that the government advertisement rates be enhanced to match the increase in the Consumer Price Index.
The APNS members present in the meeting, pointed out that the regional quota in the government advertising was not being implemented in letter and spirit for newspapers based in Sindh.