‘Uproar in Assembly’: Opposition accuses Govt of muzzling media, terms new Ad policy ‘anti-newspaper’

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ad policy‘Uproar in Assembly’: Opposition accuses Govt of muzzling media, terms new Ad policy ‘anti-newspaper’

Questions delay in empanel meeting of new newspapers

Srinagar, June 10 (GNS): Noisy scenes and uproar were witnessed in Assembly as Opposition targeted Government over New Advertisement Policy and accused it of muzzling the voice of media in Jammu and Kashmir.

The uproar erupted after National Conference MLA, Mubarak Gul raised the question of serious problems that are being faced by the local newspapers of J&K. He said during Governor’s rule, the authorities formed the new advertisement policy which is anti-media.

The NC MLA said Jammu and Kashmir’s Press Association also termed it as anti-newspapers and totally detrimental to the interests of the fourth pillar of the democracy. “The publishers of most of the newspapers also staged protest demonstrations against it,” said Gul in the House.

The NC MLA also said that the owners of the newspapers who are publishing their newspapers from last five to six years were asked by the information department that as per new advertisement policy their previous time period will not be counted.

“So as per the newly formed advertisement policy these owners have to publish their newspapers on their own expenses for next three years for empanelment. If the necessary amendments in the advertisement policy are not being made soon, then why is not information department considering the previous time period of these newspapers,” he asked.

According to news agency GNS, Mubarak Gul was seconded by MLA Ali Muhammad Sagar and he said that the newspaper owners are suffering due to Government’s wrong policies. In the meanwhile, the Congress MLA Vikar Rasool also got up from his seat and said the media is fourth pillar of democracy but in J&K the Government is attacking it. He sought assurance from Government with regard to holding meeting of empanel committee and amending new Advertisement policy.

“If in previous years, the J&K information department smoothly holds such meetings well in time. Why the department is not holding any such meeting since last more than five years to clear the cases already in pipeline. Why they have to wait three years more if they have already passed the time frame,” the Opposition members said amid uproar.

Nuwang Rigzin Jora of Congress and CPI (M) MLA Muhammad Yusuf Tarigami also took on government over its ‘anti-newspaper’ policies and demanded that the New Advertisement policy should be revisited. There was a heated argument between Education Minister Nayeem Akhtar and Mubarak Gul.

After Opposition cornered Government, the Education Minister Nayeem Akhtar said that he cannot say anything over the meeting of empanel committee but added that some clauses of the new Advertisement policy would be changed. He said in this regard they have also received some representations.

The issue of New Advertisement Policy was also raised by NC MLC Qaiser Jamsheed Lone in Upper House. He said the newspaper owners are facing lot of difficulties due to non-holding of meeting of empanel committee. He also urged government to revisit the New Advertisement policy. (GNS)