Provincial President National Conference Devender Rana sought immediate review of the revised advertisement policy of government, saying this is detrimental to the functioning of the fourth estate and will affect the growth of the newspapers both local and national.
“Role of media in democracy cannot be undermined and any attempt to curtail freedom of expression by using advertisement as a tool has potential to boomerang,” Rana said while interacting with a group of media persons that called on him here this evening and sought his intervention in rolling back of the new advertisement policy.
Rana recalled the crucial role of media in turbulent situation in the state during the past over two and half decades and said it is incumbent upon the government to take all those steps which are necessary for growth of newspapers, especially in a sensitive state like Jammu and Kashmir. He shared the concern of media persons about the fall out of the new policy and said nothing should be done that will lead to closure of several National news bureaus in the state as also gagging of the local newspapers.
He hoped that the state government would address to the concerns of the fourth estate and take corrective measures earnestly, as the new policy has potential to render many jobless. Provincial President heard problems of the deputation and said there should be no problem for the government to revisit the policy and devise it on the pattern of Haryana, Rajasthan, Odisha and Delhi.
He also expressed concern over deprivation of advertisements to the newspapers published from Jammu and Kashmir, saying this is an alarming situation which is a matter of concern for those believing media as important pillar of democracy. “Such a Draconian step amounts to covert media censorship”, he said and cautioned against curbing freedom of speech and press. Provincial President also urged the government to intervene and get the grievances of media houses resolved on immediate basis.
The deputation comprised of Virender Katoch (Hindustan Times), Rajesh Sharma (Mail Today), Sudhir Ganjoo (The Hindu), Arvind Sharma (Indian Express), Parveen Baru (Times of India), Sandeep Singh (Rashtriya Sahara), Surinder Lalotra (Punjab Kesri), Kailash K. Lange (Business Standard), Surinder Singh (The Asian Age), Atul Langer (The Pioneer), Rajinder Mahaldar (Danik Jagran), Rajeev Chadha (Amar Ujala), Ashwani Sharma (The Tribune), Ankush Jamwal (Danik Bhaskar) and others.