The Indian Newspaper Society has written a letter to Anurag Singh Thakur, Minister of Information and Broadcasting. Through the letter, the INS has requested the Government to allow the present Directorate of Advertising and Visual Publicity (DAVP) rates for print media to be continued until the availability of new audited certified figures.
This follows the Registrar of Newspapers for India extending the validity of circulation certificates till 31 July 2021. The move was consented by Prakash Javadekar, the previous Minister of Information and Broadcasting, in a virtual interaction with Indian publishers on 3 June 2021.
Analysing its present situation, the INS has requested for the validity of circulation certificates to be extended till 3 March 2022.
The letter states that the rates for Government advertising are fixed by the DAVP and are renewed or revised on the basis of overall circulation as per Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC), RNI or CA certificates.
The letter added that due to the pandemic, the ABC was unable to carry out circulation audits at various towns and cities for the period of January-June 2020, July-December 2020 and January- June 2021 and that the RNI circulation audits for certification too, could not be held.
Stating how the print media industry is suffering from loss of revenue streams from advertising, as well as from circulation, the INS explained how any revision in rates based on circulation figures would adversely affect the industry, especially the small and medium newspapers.
The cost side too, has newspaper publishers facing a challenging situation, since newsprint prices shot up by 60% and more, due to critical supply shortages from global markets and non-availability from domestic mills.
Another appeal made by the INS, was for the extension of date for filing the annual statement for 2020-21.
It said that while there is an improvement in the situation post the second wave of covid-19, the back-log and non-availability of full resources to manage the multitude of filings is a huge roadblock.
The RNI had extended the last date to 31 July, 2021 for e-filing of the annual statement.
However, based on the situation, the INS, on behalf of all small, medium and large newspaper publishers, is requesting for an extension till 31 Dec, 2021.
It also highlights that the notice allows for extension of last year’s eligibility certificates till March 2022, enabling publishers to import newsprint with ease at customs.
In conclusion, the letter states that the print medium continues to support its readers with verified and trust-worthy news, especially at a time when the whole world is plagued by fake news on the digital and social media.