The Society, in a press release by its general secretary Mary Paul, said the print media industry was already struggling for its survival.
“Such a proposal tantamounts to financial censorship. The amount of money spent by government on advertising is a small amount as far as government spend is concerned but it is a huge amount for the newspaper industry which is essential for a vibrant democracy, and is struggling to survive,” read the release.
The Congress leader had on Tuesday written to PM Modi with five suggestions from her side to better deal with the coronavirus outbreak in the country. Placing a two-year ban on advertisements in print, electronic, and radio media by the government and the Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) was one of them.
Paul further said, “Print is the only industry, which has a wage board and the Government decides how much the employees should be paid. This being the only industry where market forces don’t decide salaries, the Government has a responsibility towards the industry.”
“In the age of fake news and distortion, Print is the best platform to get news and views directly across to the people in every nook and corner of the country, for both – the Government and for the Opposition.”
While appealing to Gandhi to withdraw her suggestion, Paul wrote, “At a time like this when media personnel are risking their lives and bringing news on the pandemic situation, the suggestion of the congress president is deeply disturbing and demotivating for the entire media industry.”
Earlier, media industry bodies such as the Association of Radio Operators of India (AROI) and the News Broadcasters’ Association have already issued their official statements criticising the proposal.