Director Information & Public Relations, Tariq Ahmad Zargar today held wide-ranging deliberations with the media owners, editors and journalists here to know about the issues confronting the media fraternity in Jammu and Kashmir.Joint Director Information (Headquarters) Saajid Yehaya Naqash, Joint Director Information Kashmir, M A Hakak, Deputy Director (AV) Rakesh Dubey and other officers and officials of the Information Department were present during the meetings.The office-bearers of Kashmir Editors Guild (KEG), Jammu and Kashmir Media Association (JKMA), J&K Press Association (JKPA), Kashmir Press Club (KPC) and Jammu and Kashmir Editors Forum held detailed deliberations with the Director Information.The issues raised by Journalists Associations and Editors Bodies during their interaction with the Director Information included amendment of Advertisement Policy-2016, categorization of the approved newspapers for advertisement distribution, empanelment of fresh newspapers, rationalization of advertisement distribution and accreditation.Appreciating the department for taking the initiative of categorizing the newspapers, the Associations maintained that the categorization of newspapers is a good step as it will not only help the small papers to grow, but also enhance the competition which will ultimately raise the quality of journalism across the board.
The representatives also demanded to expedite the pending construction work of Kashmir Press Club so that it could be made functional at an earliest. It was revealed that presently the Press Club Kashmir has 300 basic members and the membership drive to include more members is on.They also suggested that journalists should be brought under welfare fund to cover accidental deaths.Director Information, Tariq Ahmad Zargar, informed the media persons that the government advertisements are distributed on a rational basis and on the merits of each publication. He said the Department is taking into consideration all aspects while issuing advertisements to the newspapers. He also informed the meeting that rates for advertisements have been enhanced and online mode of advertisement distribution has been started by the Department to ensure transparency in advertisement distribution. He sought the cooperation of the editors’ bodies for categorization of the newspapers to further streamline the advertisement distribution.He said the Government has already revised the advertisement rates of the newspapers in the state announcing a considerable hike of more than 50% in the rates notified in 2013. The Government has also increased the advertisement budget of the newspapers substantially during the past three years from Rs 22 crore in 2014-15 to Rs 35 crore for 2018-19, he said.The Director Information thanked the media persons for providing their valuable suggestions. He assured them that all of their genuine demands will be taken care of.