President ANMF Calls Upon Secretary IP Division

Port Blair, May 15: The President, Andaman Nicobar Media Federation (ANMF), K Ganeshan today met the Secretary, IP&T in his chamber and discussed various genuine issues faced by the print and electric media in the Islands. The Deputy Director, IP and senior IP&T officials were also present. He apprised the Secretary, IP that print media in the islands has been facing huge financial difficulties due to non-release of government advertisements. With the lockdown coming to its last leg and opening of most of the sectors, including government offices, the IP departments should re-start release of government advertisements. He also raised the issue of release of payment of all outstanding pending advertisement bills in various government departments, increasing of subscription of local newspapers and appointment of PRO.

Some of the vital issues concerning the print media raised by the President, ANMF include re-starting government advertisements to the print media operating in the A&N Islands. The stoppage of advertisements has resulted in huge financial losses to the local print media in the Islands. Most of the print media units have not been able to pay monthly salary to its staff. If this continues further, a number of print media will be left with no option but to close down their units permanently, rendering hundreds of employees working in these media units jobless.

On this issue, the Secretary, IP&T informed that the administration has not stopped release of government advertisements to local newspapers. Since most of the government departments are not functioning and releasing advertisements to IP&T for onward distribution, IP&T is not in a position to release the advertisements. However, he assured that once the departments re-start releasing advertisements to IP&T, the department will release the same to the local newspapers as per said down rules. 

The second issue was pertaining to release of old-pending advertisements bills. The President, ANMF said that the IP&T department should initiate steps directing various government departments under the UT administration to clear all outstanding advertisements bills of newspapers on urgent basis. This should be done on priority basis as print media here is facing huge financial crisis due to stoppage of government as well as private advertisements. If the old pending advertisement bills are cleared within 10 to 15 days, the media units here can atleast be able to pay monthly salary of their employees.  On this issue, the Secretary, IP&T directed the Deputy Director, IP to take up the issue with various departments so that pending advertisement bills can be cleared on priority basis.

The third issue was re-starting procurement of over 50 newspapers as subscription by IP&T. He apprised the Secretary, IP&T that recently, a notice was served by the IP&T department to all the print media here that due to measures to cut down government expenditure, subscription of newspapers has been reduced to only 9 instead of 50 newspapers subscribed earlier. This is a step causing further financial hardship to the print media here. This order should be taken back and old system of subscription of 50 newspapers should be continued. On this issue, the Secretary, IP&T informed that this was done to cut down government expenditure. However, he assured that once things are normal, it can be re-considered in future.  

The fourth issue raised by the President, IP&T is appointment of PRO to clarify doubts and queries related to various news reports of the UT administration. He stated that a PRO should be appointed to deal with the print media so that queries relating to news reports related to the UT administration can be published after cross checking/verification the same through the PRO. The President, ANMF urged the Secretary, IP&T to appoint a capable PRO to deal with media and not assign the task to deal with the media to the incumbent PRO of IP&T as he is not capable to deal with the media. The Secretary, IP&T assured to look into the issue. 

It is pertinent to mention here that the ANMF has been raising the genuine issues concerning local media in the islands but till date the Andaman Administration instead of resolving the issues have only given assurances which never materialized. To add to it, instead of resolving issues, the IP division of the Andaman Administration has added to the burden of the local media by reducing the number of copies to 9, as subscription for the entire Andaman & Nicobar Administration.