The recent initiative of the Indian Newspaper Society (INS) to constitute a separate committee to promote the interests of small and medium newspapers and magazines and the upcoming seminar on January 10 to evolve a consensus for redressal of their problems have been well received.
Voicing his concern over the continuous neglect of small and medium newspapers, Ashok Navrattan, Editor and Publisher of Dainik Rajpath from Mathura, describes the INS initiative as a welcome-step that was long overdue. "Despite the fact that INS has more than 500 members belonging to small and medium newspapers, they did not have any say in decision making. Since we were neglected by the INS, government media units like DAVP, RNI and PIB too never bothered about our problems. But now that we have been given a proper support and representation our interests will be safeguarded," he said.
MU Khan, publisher of Sufeer-E-Navi, an Urdu daily from Allahabad, believes that this new initiative will help in fair distribution of the DAVP budget. "Small and medium newspapers have been largely dependent on DAVP ads but only 10 per cent of the ad budget of DAVP was allocated to us while 90 per cent was cornered by the big newspapers. We have been facing problems from ad agencies which have been delaying our payments beyond six months. But I am sure now things will change for the better," he remarked.
Sunil Dang, Editor and Publisher of English monthly ‘Day After’ and chairman of the newly constituted Small and Medium Newspapers Committee of INS, echoes the sentiments of the industry. "The bureaucratic mindset and procedures of the government media units have been hampering the functioning and growth of the small and medium newspapers. The failure on the part of RNI to certify and audit circulation figures in time has been resulting in considerable business loss to small and medium newspapers by way of DAVP ads. The problem is further aggravated by the denial of the rightful share of DAVP and public sector ads. Even the PIB is showing bias against small and medium newspapers by denying accreditation to monthly periodicals. But
now with the formation of a full-fledged committee within INS, the
collective support of industry leaders and large newspaper houses will be at hand to address the issues impacting the development and expansion of small and medium newspapers in India," he observed.
Meanwhile, INS is preparing to host a seminar on small and medium newspapers and magazines in New Delhi on January 10. The seminar, aimed at identifying and addressing the problems of small and medium newspapers, will have an interactive session with the Registrar of Newspapers of India, Director, DAVP, and Principal Information Officer, Government of India. The seminar assumes significance for its technical session where P Sen, Director, The Times of India Group, will dwell on cost cutting measures, and the use of technology in newsroom management and production.
At the seminar, the owners of small and medium newspapers who have been INS members continuously for 50 years and more will be honoured. Twelve owners each of small and medium newspapers will be felicitated during the seminar.