Lahore PR - Adviser to the Prime Minister on Information Dr. Firdous Ashiq Awan has said that proposed advertising policy is not final and will be finalised in consultation with the APNS and other stakeholders.

She has invited input from the stakeholders on the proposed policy at the earliest.

The adviser was speaking to the Executive Committee of the APNS. Principal Information Officer Muhammad Tahir Hassan explained salient features of the proposed policy.

President APNS Hameed Haroon informed the adviser that the proposed policy will drastically affect the advertising revenue of all segments of the newspaper industry especially, medium and regional publications. He stated that the APNS Executive Committee was of the considered opinion that the policy if implemented in the present form, will be used as a lever to control the media and curb freedom of press. Further, it would result in mass scale retrenchment and layoff in the newspapers and closure of many publications. Hameed Haroon briefed the adviser that the APNS had examined and discussed the policy in detail and observed that it seems that even before its draft policy has already deprived the sponsoring corporations, autonomous bodies, departments and ministries of their right to select the media for their communication and has curtailed the powers of the regional offices of PID to recommend media of their respective areas. In the age of decentralization, over centralization of all advertising in the hands of few PID officials based in Islamabad and depriving advertising agencies of their role in the Federal Government advertising is alarming. He informed the Advisor that the APNS is in the process of finalizing of its proposals on the Policy which would be provided to the Ministry of Information within a week.

APNS Secretary General Sarmad Ali pointed out that the quantum of Federal Government advertisements had considerably decreased. He stated that APNS had agreed to 145% increase in the salaries of employees in the 8th Wage Board but the decline in government advertising had worsened economies of the newspapers. This has already severely affected the capacity to pay of the newspaper managements. The policy will further aggravate the situation. He urged upon the adviser to substantially increase the advertising quantum as well as increase government advertisement rates to compensate increase in wages. He asked the government to enhance government rates in accordance with the increases in the CPI over the last so many years.

Earlier, the Executive Committee at its meeting held under the chairmanship of Hameed Haroon, deliberated in detail on the proposed Advertising Policy and authorized the resident and the Secretary General to Draft Amendments to the proposed Policy based on the observations of the members of the Executive Committee.

The Executive Committee also considered the recommendations of Advertising Committee on the applications for provisional accreditation and decided to grant accreditation to M/s. Adage Communications (Pvt.) Ltd., Islamabad, M/s. Z2C Pakistan (Pvt.) Ltd., Karachi and M/s. Advertising & Business Consultant (Pvt.) Ltd., Peshawar.

The Executive Committee also approved the restructuring of M/s. Interlink Advertising (Pvt.) Ltd., Lahore.

The meeting was attended by Hameed Haroon, President, Rameeza Majid Nizami, Sr. Vice President, Mumtaz A.

Tahir, Vice President, Sarmad Ali, Secretary General, Shahab Zuberi, Finance Secretary, Syed Sajjad Bokhari (Daily Abtak), Mohsin Bilal (Daily Ausaf), Waseem Ahmed (Daily Awam, Quetta), Hamayun Tariq (D/Business Report), Ansar Mahmood Bhatti (Monthly Centre Line), Naveed Chaudhry (Daily City 42), Adnan Faisal (Daily Jiddat, Karachi), Javed Mehr Shamsi (Daily Kaleem), Aslam Leghari (Daily Kawish), Syed Ayaz Badshah (Daily Mashriq, Peshawar), Mustansar Javed (Daily Mashriq, Quetta), Inayatullah Khan (Monthly Naya Rukh), Rukhsana Saulat Saleemi (Weekly Nikhar), Gauhar Zahid Malik (D/Pakistan Observer), Khushnood Ali Khan (Daily Sahafat), Humayun Gulzar (Daily Saydat), Jamil Athar Qazi (Daily Tijarat), Syed Haroon Shah (Daily Wahdat) and Nasir Daad Baloch (Daily Sindh Sujaag).

Mehtab Khan (Daily Ausaf), Tahir Mughal (Daily Nawa-e-Pak), Irfan Athar Qazi (Daily Jurat) and Mohsin Mumtaz (Daily Business News) attended as special observers.