Stating that the newspaper industry is at “an inflection point,” the Indian Newspaper Society (INS) has called for sound fiscal and labour policies to support it at this juncture. Speaking at the INS’ 78th annual general meeting here on Friday, its outgoing president Somesh Sharma urged the government to desist from constituting any more Wage Boards for both journalist and non-journalist employees in newspaper establishments.
“Since no other industry has Wage Boards, there is no rationale for persisting with such boards for the print media alone,” he said. The INS strongly condemned “the continued incidents of violence and attacks on offices and personnel of press in various parts of the country by the anti-social elements during the year under review.”
“Such incidents are, undisputedly, serious threats to the freedom of press,” the INS stated, adding the state governments and local law & order authorities must deal with them “with an iron hand” to ensure security and protection of the press.
The Directorate of Advertising and Visual Publicity’s (DAVP) Advertisement Policy 2016 did not change the earlier circulation-based classification of newspaper/journals into small, medium and big categories, Sharma pointed out.
Nevertheless, he noted, it has been made mandatory for newspapers with circulation above 45,000 copies to furnish ABC/RNI certificates. “…a cut-off figure of 45,000 of circulation is arbitrary and there appears no ground for arriving at this figure,” he said. Demonetisation, Sharma said, had squeezed advertisement spends across almost all categories of advertisers, adding it was “an apt time to support and strengthen the newspaper industry instead of subjecting it to taxation squeezes and attack on revenue streams.”