JAMMU: Department of Information and Public Relation is all set to initiate strict action against newspapers for furnishing fake circulation data and resorting to whole sale plagiarism.
Reliable sources in DIPR informed that authorities have decided to de-empanel all those newspapers which brag of circulation in thousands but hardly available in market.
The authority is also contemplating to initiate legal action against the identified newspapers for looting the advertisement funds worth crores through misrepresentation of facts pertaining to their circulation and staff, sources said.
Vide notice No : INFR/J-774-77/2020 dated 17/10/202, the DIPR has warned the defaulter newspapers of stopping advertisement by de-empanel them besides initiating strict action under law for cheating the government with fudged circulation data to avail paid advertisements from DIPR.
Pertinently, there are nearly 950 newspapers with periodicity as daily, fortnightly, monthly and weekly existed in the J&K and out of which 395 are empaneled with DIPR and qualifies for advertisements with annual budget of whooping more than 35 crores.
“For long, large number of Newspapers in state have openly looted this advertisement funds in an organized way in connivance with insiders of DIPR” revealed an officer of DIPR preferring anonymity.
Decades ago before empanelement, the senior officials of DIPR used to visit the office of the newspapers to assess it’s infrastructure as mentioned in the declaration. But, now newspapers sans office and manpower are empaneled blindly, said sources.
The department wake up from deep slumber only when a renowned RTI and social activist Rajeshwar Singh Jamwal urged the office of LG for CID and ACB probe into swindling of advertisement funds by newspapers which hardly visible in the market, said highly placed sources.
Except few local dailies, most of the newspapers especially colored while filling their returns to DIPR and Registrar News Paper of India brags of printing copies from 10,000 to 40000 but published only 50 to 100 copies while there are others who only print their newspapers for the day when they get advertisements from DIPR, said insiders.
Government distribute advertisements to newspapers for wider publication and reach to public but this practice has become a breeding ground for corruption where tenders and important information in the shape of advertisements failed to see the light of the day when it got allocated to such shaddy newspapers, said another DIPR source.
More shockingly, there are some newspaper owners who earns Rs 4 lakhs advertisement per month by owning four newspapers (Rs 1 lakh each) but prints only 50 copies each, added sources.
The government should hand over matter to CID to ascertain the veracity of Chartered Accountant certification on the basis of which newspapers every year filed return with Registrar News Paper of India (RNI) pertaining staff, number of copies printed, office, infrastructure, reporters and editor to avail paid advertisements from DAVP and DIPR, said sources.
In Jammu one sheet load printing press located at Sidhara published nearly 38 newspapers whose cumulative printing stands at around 7,60,000 copies but strangely if this printing press runs for entire 24 hours could not print 50,000 copies in day, revealed DIPR sources.
The news content of these empaneled newspapers is all together a shining example of plagiarism as most of these blackmailing sheets are prepared by a under matric computer operator. In Jammu, one such computer operator alone preparing nearly 40 newspaper for printing by employing cut /paste expertise in just 5 hours.