The Indian Newspaper Society (INS) has directed all member newspapers not to publish advertisements of public sector undertakings (PSU) and the autonomous bodies at the rates prescribed by the Directorate of Advertisement and Visual Publicity (DAVP), which is a government agency that manages public service campaigns.
The Information and Broadcasting Minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi said, “The DAVP has been writing to the newspapers telling them to refuse to publish PSU advertisements, as per the Advertisement Policy, but no response has been received so far from them.”
Dasmunsi said that the recommendation of rate structure committee regarding print media advertisement rates have been implemented with effect from January 1, 2006. The I&B Ministry had earlier decided that all advertisements of state-owned enterprises and autonomous bodies would be released only through the DAVP, which offers rates that are at least 40-50 per cent cheaper than commercial ones.
According to the INS, this move will force media to subsidise PSUs, and in turn, threaten the viability of the newspaper industry. INS also said that PSUs are commercial enterprises that compete with the private sector, so it makes no sense to ask PSUs to demand this subsidy from the newspaper industry.
“PSUs are being progressively freed from government control, with respect to management. There is no reason for them to be bound by government directions on ad rates,” said a spokesperson from INS, adding that the INS has repeatedly expressed dissatisfaction with DAVP procedures about releasing ads and making payments.