Print Media to Blackout Government PRs, Ads, Images, News until Election Announcement
For the coming 10th, 11th and 12th March all newspapers of the state affiliated to the North East Newspapers Society (NENS) have decided to boycott news, images and advertisements related to the government. This decision was taken due to the negligence shown by the government towards the newspaper fraternity. In a meeting held at Agradoot Bhawan, the members of the NENS condemned the government's attitude and took this decision.
It is to be mentioned that the government rates for advertisements has remained stagnant since 2014. In these five years the rate of printing, cost of newsprint and the cost of other printing materials have increased manifold. This has resulted in serious operational emergency due to rising expenses for the print medium.
The society members had, on 22 February 2018, met chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal and apprised him of their situation. The chief minister had assured the members that all the three demands presented would be taken care of and the issues will be resolved.
The first demand of the society to the government was to release the payment for advertisements every two months. The second demand was that the rate of advertisement should be increased every year. The third was the centralized distribution of advertisements along with release orders.
Moreover, even the Gauhati High Court had given an order which the government has not agreed to. One year has passed since the society met the chief minister but nothing has progressed. Also in between, a meeting was held with the additional chief secretary that, too, resulted in nothing.
This continuous neglect by the government has led the society to take the decision of not printing anything about the government; no images or advertisements will be published for these three days. If the government does not pay heed to these demands immediately, society would decide on taking more stringent steps in the future.
Chaired by eminent journalist Kanaksen Deka the meeting was attended by Prafulla Govinda Baruah (The Assam Tribune), Jayanta Baruah (Sadin-Pratidin), Subroto Sarma (Janambhumi), Samir Agarwala, Pranab Talukdar (GL Publications), Khagen Chandra Deka, Sunil Kumar Singh (Axomiya Khabar), Swapnil Bharali, Koushik Hazarika (G Plus), Rameshwar Chauhan (Hill Times), Pranjal Sen Deka and other representatives from the Assamese print media fraternity.