The Department of Information and Public Relations is in the process of updating the details of empanelled newspapers and periodicals for rationalisation of advertisement distribution in light of the Advertisement Policy-2016, an official spokesman said on Sunday.
He said, accordingly, all the empanelled newspapers and periodicals in the State have been asked to provide, within one week, updated details including latest circulation figures authenticated by Registrar of Newspapers of India/Audit Bureau of Circulation/Chartered Accountant to the concerned Joint Directors of Information (Kashmir/Jammu) for updating the records.
The exercise is part of the initiative taken by the Department, in consultation with various journalists and Editors 'forums, to streamline and rationalize the distribution of official advertisements among the approved newspapers and periodicals.
The representatives of these forums had recently called on the Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti, Finance Minister, Dr Haseeb Drabu, Financial Commissioner Information, B B Vyas, Director Information, Dr Shahid Iqbal Choudhary and other concerned calling for addressing the discrepancies, if any, and rationalization of the advertisement distribution by the Information Department.
"We had a series of meetings with the Editors' bodies recently, where the need for rationalising advertisement distribution by the Information Department was repeatedly stressed so that all the empanelled newspapers and periodicals get their due share of advertisements in a judicious and transparent manner," said Director Information, Dr Shahid Choudhary.
The Department, he said, has accordingly embarked upon a comprehensive exercise of rationalizing the advertisement distribution to do away with the inherent discrepancies, if any, and fix advertisement allocation quota for all the empanelled newspapers and periodicals, in a judicious and transparent manner, in tune with the guidelines laid down in the Advertisement Policy-2016.
To facilitate the DIPR to accomplish this thorough exercise in a time-bound manner, the Printers/Publishers of the empanelled newspapers and periodicals have been asked to submit the details, including circulation figures, to the Department at an earliest.
Pertinently, 368 newspapers and periodicals, including 201 in Jammu and 167 in Kashmir, are presently empanelled with the Department of Information for release of official advertisements.
The empanelled newspapers and periodicals include 83 English dailies (49 in Jammu/34 in Kashmir), 103 Urdu dailies (74 in Kashmir/26 in Jammu), 20 Hindi dailies (all in Jammu), 2 Kashmiri dailies (all in Kashmir), 1 Dogri daily (in Jammu), 34 English weeklies (23 in Jammu/11 in Kashmir), 9 Hindi weeklies (8 in Jammu/1 in Kashmir), 78 Urdu weeklies (42 in Jammu/39 in Kashmir), 1 Kashmiri weekly, 2 Dogri weeklies, 3 Urdu Bi-Weeklies (in Jammu), 9 English fortnightlies (7 in Jammu/2 in Kashmir), 5 Urdu fortnightlies (all in Jammu), 8 Hindi fortnightlies (all in Jammu), one Punjabi fortnightly (in Jammu), 8 English monthlies (5 in Jammu/3 in Kashmir), 2 Hindi monthlies (all in Jammu), 1 Urdu monthly (in Jammu) and 1 Punjabi monthly (in Jammu).
The Department has an annual advertisement budget of around Rs 30 crore which is expected to go up substantially during the next fiscal, following a sizeable 50% hike in the advertisement rates for newspapers and periodicals announced by the Chief Minister recently. The Department has released around Rs 14 crores payment to the newspapers and periodicals in the three quarters of the current fiscal on account of advertisement bills including the past liabilities. "The Government has agreed to provide additional funds this year to clear all the past advertisement liabilities of newspapers and periodicals so that from the next fiscal we can start with a clean slate," said Director Information, Dr Shahid
He said in the Department is also in the process of formulating a separate and maiden advertisement policy for electronic media and the online news portals. "The Department has already sought views of the stakeholders on the issue and the draft advertisement policy for electronic media and the online news portals will be soon submitted to the Government for approval," he said.
The Government is also finalizing the guidelines for the Welfare Scheme for Journalists for which a corpus fund of Rs 2 crore was earmarked in the Budget 2016-17.
The Department of Information is also in the process of revising the Accreditation Rules in its endeavour to put in place a fair and transparent process for accreditation of journalists.