LAHORE (Staff Report) – The All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS) has flayed the consistent indifference of the federal government, especially of the Ministry of Information, towards the long pending issues of newspaper industry.

In a statement on Tuesday, APNS Secretary General Sarmad Ali announced the decision taken at the Executive Committee meeting held under the chairmanship of APNS president Hameed Haroon.

He said that the members at the Executive Committee have expressed their concerns over the non-payment of dues of member publications and advertising agencies by the federal government for the current year as well as the long outstanding dues against devolved ministries and the departments for which, the Prime Minister had already approved the summaries.

The situation has caused acute financial crunch for the newspaper industry which is braving the crises with grave problems. The Executive Committee also noted that the print share in the campaigns launched by the Federal Government was consistently decreasing which has considerably slashed advertising in newspapers, causing survival issues for smaller and regional publications.

The Executive Committee also noted that the Advisor on Information, then Secretary Information and the PIO had assured to resolve the problems including increased advertising share for print, notification of rate increase pending for 03 years and payment of dues at the earliest but these assurances were yet to be honored.

The members at the Executive Committee deplored that the Joint Committee of APNS, CPNE and the PID formed on the initiative of PIO, has not been convened despite lapse of about 04 months.

The Executive Committee also noted that the provincial governments of Sindh, Khyber Pakhtoon Khawa (KPK) and the Punjab are also avoiding to make payment towards the dues of member publications and advertising agencies pending since long.

The Executive Committee regretted that despite categoric assurances by the Secretary Information, Sindh, the current dues of member publications for the year 2015 have not been cleared and the assured payment of liabilities upto 2014 have also not been paid.

The Executive Committee urged upon the provincial governments of Sindh, Punjab and KPK to clear the dues of member publications and ensure equitable distribution of ads to genuine publications at the earliest to save the industry from the financial crunch.

The Executive Committee adopted the Annual Report of the Secretary General for the year 2015-16 and decided to hold the Annual General Council Meeting on March 30, 2016 at Karachi. The General Council will elect Executive Committee for the year

2016-17 and chalk out the strategies and actions for the problems of newspaper industry.

The meeting was attended by the following:

Hameed Haroon, President,  Rameeza Majid Nizami, Sr. Vice President, Mumtaz A. Tahir, Vice President,  Sarmad Ali, Secretary General,  Rehmat Ali Raazi,  Joint Secretary,  Adnan Zafar (Daily Aaj, Pew), Mehtab Khan (D/Ausaf), Dr. Jabbar Khattak (D/Awami Awaz), Arshad A. Zuberi (D/Business Recorder),  Fauzia Shaheen (D/Dastak), Najamuddin Sheikh (D/Deyanat, Khi), Aijaz-ul-Haq (D/Express), Kazi  Asad Abid (D/Ibrat),  Javed Mehr Shamsi (D/Kaleem), Mian Akbar Ali (D/Khabrain), Aamer Mahmood (M/Kiran), Syed Mumtaz Ahmed Shah (D/Mashriq, Lhr.),  Mushtaq A. Qureshi (Monthly Naey Ufaq), Inayatullah  Khan Niazi (M/Naya Rukh), Umer Mujib Shami (D/Pakistan, Lhr.), S.M. Munir Jilani (D/Paigham), Faisal Zahid Malik (D/Pakistan Observer), Arif Nizami (D/Pakistan Today), Ilyas Shakir (D/Qaumi Akhbar), Dr. Waqar Yousuf Azeemi (M/Roohani Digest), Khushnood Ali Khan (D/Sahafat), Humayon Gulzar (D/Sayadat), Riaz Ahmed Mansuri (M/The Cricketer), Prof. S.B. Hasan (M/Investment & Marketing) and Younus Riaz (D/Beopar).

Mujib-ur-Rehman Shami (President, CPNE), Syed Ali Hasan Naqvi (Daily Dawn) and Mukhtar Aqil (Daily Jurat) attended the meeting on special invitation.