Pardeep Singh Bali
State government on Friday said that it will reconsider the New Advertisement Policy after opposition parties created uproar in the Lower House and blamed the government for curbing the press freedom through this policy.
Soon after the beginning of the question hour, the lower House saw a ruckus after a strong verbal spat was witnessed between People’s Democratic Party (PDP) legislator Ghulam Nabi Lone and Congress legislator, Nawang Rigzin Jora who demanded its immediate roll back. Blaming the PDP led government for deliberately implementing the policy in the state Jora demanded that policy should be examined.
“Media is the fourth pillar of democracy. The government should revisit the clauses which are being objected. The policy should be examined properly and if possible should be rolled back,” he said. In response, PDP legislator, Ghulam Nabi Lone replied that the policy was not implemented by the present regime. He said that government will step back if proved that it has implemented policy in the state.
“If he proves that our government has implemented this policy we will step back then,” he said adding that Jora was ‘misleading’ the house. Jora was equally supported by the legislators of Congress and National Conference who demanded response from the government in this regard.
Later replying to a written question by NC legislator Mubarak Gul who spoke on behalf of Devinder Singh Rana, government spokesperson, Naeem Akhter said that the policy was put to the public domain before being approved by the State Administrative Council. “State Administrative Council after much deliberation approved the Draft Advertisement policy in the state to revise the benchmarks for considering the newspapers for issuance of advertisements,” he said.
Naeem informed that some representations have been received by the government seeking withdrawal of certain clauses of the new Advertisement Policy-2016. “Opinions were sought from all stakeholders before approving it. We received several representations from stake holders and all these representations are being examined and corrective measures will be taken,” he said.
Later, NC legislator, Mubarak Gul interrupted and took on government by saying that it had a ‘political agenda’ behind implementing this policy. He said that the stakeholders were not satisfied with this policy adding the government should have framed a comprehensive one.
“Many journalists have rendered sacrifice for the development of this institution in the state. The government is behind all the mess in this policy. The government has a political agenda behind implementing this policy and it didn’t wished this question to be raised here,” he said. The argument intensified the spat between Naeem and Mubarak Gul with former saying that the policy was implemented during Governor’s rule in the state.
“Jammu and Kashmir had no government when this policy was implemented. When I open my mouth then no one will speak here. Presently the representations are being examined and corrective measures will be taken,” he said. Naeem was interrupted by the BJP legislator Satpal Sharma who demanded that the policy requires discussion within the House. Meanwhile CPI (M) state secretary, Mohammad Yusuf Tarigami said that the policy should be revisited to see further improvements in it.
“For every corporation the rates were according to DAVP rates. Under this policy the rates are low as compared to DAVP. So the rates should be revised,” he said. Later NC legislator Ali Mohammad Sagar demanded assurance from the government to undertake the suggestion from the house.
In reply, government spokesperson said that the government will consider the inputs from all the legislators of the house. “The new Advertisement policy is a concern. We will examine it and all the inputs will be considered,” he said