THE UNION Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has suspended RSS mouthpiece and monthly journal Rashtra Dharma — launched in 1947 by BJP patriarch Atal Bihari Vajpayee — which is published from Lucknow. The suspension comes according to an advisory issued on April 6 by the Directorate of Advertising and Visual Publicity (DAVP), under the Union government, stating 804 newspapers and journals on the DAVP panel have not submitted monthly issues from October 2016 to February 2017 in Press Information Bureau (PIB) and DAVP offices as per the DAVP database. The list includes 165 newspapers and journals published in Uttar Pradesh.
The advisory, available on the ministry’s website, also mentions clause 13 of the Print Media Advertisement Policy-2016 to speak of the “regularity” in which it is mandatory that “all newspapers empanelled with DAVP shall submit their monthly copies to DAVP before 15th of the subsequent month, failing which, advertisement shall be stopped to that newspaper”.
Advisories are issued by the DAVP in this regard every month. Despite this, monthly issues of Rashtra Dharma — whose first editor was Vajpayee and which had Jan Sangh leaders in its management committee — had reportedly not been submitted by the publisher to the designated offices. “Hence, these publications are being suspended in accordance with clause 25(b) of the Print Media Advertisement Policy-2016,” stated the advisory.
Manager of Rashtra Dharma Prakashan, Pawan Putra Badal, said he has not received any official communication from the ministry regarding the suspension. “The journal is being published regularly since 1947. Its publication was not stopped even during Emergency. The journal has been printed in past six months too, but I not aware why its copies did not reach the ministry on time. I will inquire about it,” he added.
“The decision will only suspend the release of advertisements by the Information and Broadcasting Ministry to the journal. Other Union ministries and state governments could still give advertisements to Rashtra Dharma. The journal will still be published,” he claimed.
“But the point is that Rashtra Dharma is not published for advertisements. It is published for spreading message of nationalism. Rashtra Dharma journal is in demand in 12 countries, including London, Canada and West Indies among others,” Badal said.
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.