ISLAMABAD: All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS) urged Prime Minister Imran Khan to announce a five-point relief package for the survival of a free print media. APNS further stated that government had already announced an economic relief package on March 25 and has assured further reliefs to businesses which are critically affected by the present situation caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
“We, as the representative body of the print media, invite your kind attention to the national emergency faced by the free Press, which is the fourth pillar of Pakistani democracy, APNS stated.” APNS and the print media community asked for the following 5-point bailout package for the print media: The Federal Ministry of Information and Broadcasting should make special monthly allocation of Rs 1 billion per month for the next 3 months for print advertising that highlights public health awareness about the coronavirus and hardens our national resolve to defeat it. The Federal and provincial governments of Punjab and KPK should be instructed to immediately clear pending payments on account of the long outstanding advertising dues owed by the government to the print media, so that these may be disbursed by us against outstanding wage payments due to newspaper employees. Increase the government’s advertising rates by 100 per cent. This overdue increase would still place government advertising rates at less than half of those paid by commercial advertisers. Reduce NEPRA’s tariff for the provision of electricity to newspaper premises and presses by 50 per cent. The FBR should be advised to exempt the 1.5 per cent withholding tax on newspapers for the current fiscal year. We believe that the above package of relief measures would help the print media to withstand this unprecedented crisis, APNS added.
Source : The Nation