Comparing Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s suggestion to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to stop all government advertisements to the media for the next two years with “financial censorship”, the Indian Newspaper Society (INS) on Wednesday stated that the amount that goes in media ads is small for the government but significant for an industry already facing challenges, especially given the COVID-19 pandemic and the resultant nationwide lockdown.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, the INS stated that its president Shailesh Gupta, on behalf of the association representing the print news industry in India, has appealed to the Congress chief to reconsider and withdraw her suggestion in the interest of a “vibrant and free press”.
The INS stated: “There is already a decline in advertisement and circulation revenue due to recession and the digital onslaught. To add to the problem, we now face severe financial crisis due to the complete lockdown of industries and business.”
At a time like this, when media personnel are risking their lives and bringing news on the pandemic, Sonia’s suggestion for a two-year ban on media advertisements is “deeply disturbing and demotivating for the entire media industry”, the INS stated.
Sonia had written to Modi on Tuesday with suggestion for “austerity measures”, which can be used to divert “much-needed funds to the fight against COVID-19”.
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