In an attempt to empower small and medium newspapers with better technology, greater recognition and better revenue flow, Sunil Dang, Chairman, Small and Medium Newspapers Committee, Indian Newspaper Society (INS), said that the body had made some recommendations to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.
Elaborating on the demands made by INS to strengthen small and medium newspapers in the country, Dang said, “Most small publications are asked to provide authentication each time they approach a government body like DAVP, PIB, RNI, state governments, postal and railway authorities for various services. A recommendation has been made that a verification cell be constituted to verify the data and check the circulation figures of these publications and post them on the Net.”
He said that the verification cell, comprising chartered accountants, publishers, advertisers from ministries and respected private firms and industry intellectuals, should be an independent body on the lines of the Press Council and the verified data posted by them should be recognised by all government bodies.
Dang maintained that small and medium newspapers had to keep pace with market forces and only technology could help them do so. Welcoming PTI’s move to revise the rates for services to periodicals, Dang said, “It was after long negotiations that PTI heard our demand. We are very happy with this decision as it is really boosts the small and medium publications and gives them an opportunity to avail the services at affordable rates.”
An Indian language periodical can now avail the Bhasha and Photo service of PTI at a package rate of Rs 7,960 per month or only the Bhasha service at Rs 1,900 per month, which is 50 per cent cheaper than earlier rates, states the letter sent out from PTI to the Chairman, Small and Medium Newspapers Committee.
Dang informed that INS had approached the Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) for assistance in setting up a newsprint cooperative bank under INS, which could be used by the small and medium newspapers.
The body has also approached DAVP for a fair distribution of advertisements to small and medium newspapers. Dang said, “We are also talking to the Railway Ministry and Postal Department to facilitate the empowerment of smaller publications.”
At railway stations, these newspapers can be displayed at bookstalls and the postal authorities can initiate a ‘patrika channel’ for quick delivery of magazines, which would help the smaller publications avoid expensive courier services. Also, there is a need to upgrade the standard of newsapers available at the railway station newsstands, Dang said.