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APNS welcomes the intent of Honourable Chief Justice of Pakistan to examine basis of government advertising in the print media.

ISLAMABAD -- The APNS has welcomed the intent of the honourable Chief Justice of Pakistan to examine the basis of government advertising in the print media.

Sarmad Ali, President and Umer Mujib Shami, Secretary General of APNS, in a statement, issued today have stated that the Chief Justice has observed that despite failure to provide utilities, the provincial governments spend tax payers money on massive advertisements in the media for self promotion at nation's expense.

The APNS clarified that government advertising serves as oxygen to the liquidity starved print media. Any stoppage of government advertisements to media at this stage will have a crippling effect on the economy of the media as the viability of a free press is dependent solely on its financial independence. The APNS clarified that the prices of government advertisements were fixed at a fraction of market rates. The APNS also pointed out that print media in general and small and regional newspapers in particular, mainly depend on revenue earned from advertisements as the cover price of newspapers does not even meet 5% cost of producing a newspaper.

The advertisements issued by Federal and provincial governments basically highlight the performance of these governments by disseminating information regarding their respective achievements. This practice is not peculiar to Pakistan but is common across the developing world where advertisements are the main source of information to the people of a country. The APNS is of the considered opinion that action to limit government advertisements in the print media, would adversely affect the financial viability of newspapers which are already facing financial crunch due to economic and industrial slowdown in the country.

The APNS is confident that the Chief Justice understands that the freedom of press, enshrined in Article 19 of the constitution, is one of the fundamentals of any democracy and is the safeguard on which access to information and plurality of views function therein. There are so many real and looming obstacles to the exercise of these important freedoms and we hope that the Chief Justice will address the removal of such obstacles in preference to dwelling on the problems of print advertising, which is done at a fraction of the tariff applicable to commercial advertisers. The APNS requested the three member bench formed by the honourable CJ to take this critical issue into consideration.

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Publication:Regional Times (Karachi, Pakistan)
Geographic Code:9PAKI
Date:Mar 1, 2018
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