Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) mouthpiece and monthly journal ‘Rashtra Dharma’ has been suspended by the Narendra Modi government – the Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) being the final signatory on the suspension. The reason behind the suspension – 804 newspapers and journals on the Directorate of Advertising and Visual Publicity (DAVP) panel did not submit the monthly issues from October 2016 to February 2017 in Press Information Bureau (PIB) and DAVP offices as per the DAVP database. This was stated in an advisory issued on April 6 by DAVP, which functions under the aegis of the Union government. The monthly journal that was launched in 1947 by BJP patriarch Atal Bihari Vajpayee was published from Lucknow and the list also includes 165 newspapers and journals published in Uttar Pradesh.
Advisories are issued by the DAVP in this regard every month. And according to the advisory that was made available on the ministry’s website, mentioned clause 13 of the Print Media Advertisement Policy-2016 that speaks about the ‘regularity’ – which states that it is mandatory for all newspapers empanelled with DAVP shall submit their monthly copies to DAVP before 15th of the subsequent month, failing to which, advertisement shall be stopped to that newspaper. The advisory further stated that despite the advisories issued by the DAVP every month, the monthly issues of Rashtra Dharma had reportedly not been submitted by the publisher to the designated offices – therefore, it stated – “These publications are being suspended in accordance with clause 25(b) of the Print Media Advertisement Policy-2016.”
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However, Pawan Putra Badal, the manager of Rashtra Dharma Prakashan, said that regarding the suspension, he has not received any official communication from the ministry. He further added that the journal that was being published regularly since 1947 and the journal has been printed in past six months too. He further said that he was not aware why its copies did not reach the ministry on time and he will inquire about it.
Badal claimed that decision will only result in suspension in the release of advertisements by the Information and Broadcasting Ministry to the journal. While other Union ministries and state governments could still give advertisements to Rashtra Dharma and thus the journal will still be published. He further added that Rashtra Dharma is not published for advertisements, but it is published for spreading a message of nationalism. He added that he has written to the DAVP on Monday, urging it to express regret that such a decision has been taken without the journal being given any prior notice.