Preparations are on full swing for the annual elections of the Indian Newspaper Society (INS), which will be held in Hyderabad on September 24, 2009. Last year, Mumbai Samachar’s Hormusji N Cama was elected INS President for 2008-09 at the INS elections held in Bangalore on September 19, 2008.
Paresh Nath of Delhi Press was elected the Deputy President, a post which he had held the previous year as well. T Venkattram Reddy of Deccan Chronicle had been elected Vice-President, while Rakesh Sharma of Hindustan Times was the Treasurer. Both of them had also held these posts in the previous year. V Shankaran was elected Secretary of the Society.
Speaking about the achievements of the Society during his tenure as President, Cama told exchange4media, “It has been a very satisfying year as we at INS have been able to bring WAV to India, which was one of the important agendas for us. Another significant achievement has been a decision to merge the National Readership Survey (NRS) and the Indian Readership Survey (IRS) to create a single research for the print industry. The DAVP ad rates have also increased substantially in this period and the exemption of custom duty on newsprint has been a great relief. So, all in all it has been a great and a satisfying year for me as President of INS.”
Speaking on the challenges that lay ahead for INS, Paresh Nath of Delhi Press, who is the current Deputy President of INS, said, “INS has many challenges, the first and the critical one being that the print industry is facing a downturn in advertising, as commercial advertising is on an all time low. The decisions regarding expansion are all put on hold for most of the organizations, which is a great cause of concern.”
He further said, “Government ads have been decreasing because of fragmentation in newspapers, we are facing threat from TV and the Internet. In the West, the newspapers and magazines are in a very bad shape, and though we are not in that bad a shape, the fact remains that if someone sneezes in America we catch a cold, so one has to be careful. INS at the moment is not equipped to handle all these problems The Mumbai building project should not be the prime focus of INS, rather it should also look at some of the grave concerns that are haunting the print industry.”
As per tradition in the INS, the current Deputy President becomes its next President in the elections, while the Vice President becomes the Deputy President. When queried whether it would be fair to ask him if he would be the INS President this year, Nath replied, “I have grave doubts about that. As per the procedure, I should have been the President last year, but that did not happen. So, I cannot guarantee because the procedure has not been followed a couple of times. So you will have to wait and watch.”
The current Executive Committee of INS comprises 41 members, the number of which keeps changing as there are fresh nominees every year. All the members go in for elections every year, during which some of the members are re-elected and some are not. The vacancies then created are filled by fresh nominees after election as per the procedure. The President can also co-opt anyone in between the tenure as well, also the Deputy President becomes the President the following year and the Vice President become the Deputy President; however, there have been departures from this in the past.