Monday, July 15, 2024

Bangladesh Newspaper Consortium Appeals for Government Intervention and Industry Support


Newspaper Owners Appeal to Prime Minister for Industry Support

In a recent rally for action, the Bangladesh Sangbadpatra Shilpa Parishad, a consortium of newspaper owners, has laid out a comprehensive 14-point demand to the government to ensure the sustainability of the newspaper industry. Central to their appeal is the urgent payment of outstanding advertisement bills by government agencies to newspapers by the coming June, to prevent a potential movement for their demands starting July.

The demands were unveiled during a meeting at the Daily Industry newspaper office in Dhaka, on Saturday, spearheaded by the organisation’s president, Dr. Enayet Karim. Key issues and possible remedies for the ongoing struggles faced by newspapers were discussed intensively among attendees.

The meeting saw General Secretary Yunus Sohag presenting the demands, which cover a broad range of considerations. Foremost among these was the call for immediate clearance of pending advertisement bills. Moreover, the newspaper owners requested the formulation of policies for equitable distribution of government advertisements, cessation of price discrimination between English and Bengali newspapers, and an introduction of government advertisement rates for online newspaper portals.

Adjustments in the rate of government advertisements to reflect market inflation, provisions for low-interest loans for newspapers, housing for journalists, a hefty allocation of Tk 5,000 crore, the introduction of a pension scheme for journalists and media workers, repeal of repressive laws such as the Digital Security Act, and VIP status for editors, were also among the demands highlighted during the meeting.

The group expressed grave concerns over the viability of newspapers without the timely settlement of government advertisement dues. These payments are essential for maintaining operational continuity and ensuring salaries for the journalistic workforce.

The call for action is directed towards the government, especially Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and the State Minister for Information and Broadcasting, urging them to step in and help sustain the newspaper sector.

It was revealed during the discussion that around 700 newspapers are facing a severe financial crunch, with government agencies owing them approximately Tk 2,500 crore in advertisement bills. To clear these dues and cover upcoming bills for the next financial year, an estimated Tk 5,000 crore is required.

Dr. Enayet Karim, also serving as the editor of the Daily Industry, noted a significant change in the payment cycle for newspaper advertisements. Previously settled every three months, these payments have now accumulated to a staggering Tk 2,500 crore owing to discontinuation of the practice.

The meeting saw participation from a plethora of industry luminaries, including freedom fighters and editors of various daily newspapers, all united in their quest for a viable future for the newspaper industry – a cornerstone of democracy and free speech.

As the newspaper industry faces these unparalleled challenges, the collective call to action underscores a crucial juncture for governmental support. It’s a stark reminder of the essential role that newspapers play in informing the public, shaping opinions, and safeguarding democracy. The industry now looks towards the Prime Minister’s office for an affirmative response to their plea, hoping to chart a sustainable path forward for journalism in Bangladesh.

Jordan Clark
Jordan Clark
Jordan Clark brings a dynamic and investigative approach to business reporting. Holding a degree in Business Administration and a certification in Data Analysis, Jordan has an eye for detail and a knack for uncovering the stories behind the numbers. His career began in the bustling world of Silicon Valley startups, giving him firsthand experience in tech entrepreneurship and venture capital. Jordan's reports often focus on technology's impact on business, startup culture, and emerging

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