PESHAWAR: The provincial information department has removed 31 provincial, regional and local newspapers from the media list for not fulfilling the criteria under the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Advertisement Policy 2018, according to officials.
After removal from the media list, they said, the government advertisements would not be issued to such newspapers. These newspapers so far received government advertisements in violation of the basic criteria framed under the policy.
Information Secretary Arshed Khan told Dawn that the newspapers were delisted because they had not renewed their annual registration with the information department. They also didn’t provide the copies of newspapers to the information department on daily basis as per requirement and published lesser pages, he added.
Official says there are 91 newspapers on media list now
According to official documents, 14 newspapers had not renewed their annual registration, 16 of them didn’t provide their published copies to the information department on daily basis while 15 of them were irregular in providing their published copies to the department.
Section 6(III) of the KP Advertisement policy states: “The newspapers should be published regularly and it should submit its copies regularly to the Directorate General of Information and Public Relations KP or Regional Information Officer (RIO) concerned, as the case may be.”
It says that any newspaper found irregular will automatically stand disqualified from the provincial media list.
According to the policy, the national newspapers should have minimum 12 pages and regional newspapers should have minimum eight pages while the policy has fixed minimum six pages for the district/local newspapers.
However, contrary to the policy, most of the delisted newspapers were printing lesser pages than their standard.
According to the official documents, the information department also conducted a survey to see the availability of the newspapers at stalls in different parts of the respective cities.
During the survey, the documents reveal, all the delisted newspapers were not available at the newspaper stalls.
“If the newspaper copies are not shared with the information department on daily basis and also not available at the stalls, it means that such newspapers are not published,” a senior official of the information department told Dawn.
He said that the owners of such newspapers didn’t provide job to any journalist or other employees to generate employment in violation of the KP Press, Newspapers, News Agencies and Books Registration Act, 2013.
“Some of the owners of the newspapers hire a single graphic designer to copy the entire material from the old national newspapers without establishing office and hiring journalists,” said the official.
He said that during search for dummy newspapers, he noticed that the local newspapers had no setup to publish the editorial and opinion pages.
“One of the local newspapers published the same editorial page of a national newspaper for 15 days from October 1 to October 15,” said the official.
He said that with the exclusion of 31 dummy newspapers from the media list, there were 91 newspapers on the media list now. Six of the delisted newspapers are from Peshawar, three from Abbottabad, three from Swat, seven from Islamabad, three from Dera Ismail Khan and one each from Haripur, Karachi and Karak.