All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS) has appealed to Prime Minister Imran Khan for a relief package for the survival of a free print media.
Ads on the front and back pages of mainstream newspapers say that the PTI government has announced a package for businesses affected by COVID-19. “We, as the representative body of the print media, invite your kind attention to the national emergency faced by the free press, which is the fourth pillar of Pakistani democracy.”
APNS said the Ministry of Information “should make special monthly allocations of Rs1 billion per month for the next 3 months for print advertising that highlights public health awareness about the coronavirus…”
It also demanded that the federal government along with the Punjab and Khyber Pakthtunkhwa governments should “clear pending payments on account of the long outstanding advertising dues owed by the government to the print media so that these may be disbursed by us against outstanding wage payments due to newspaper employees.”
APNS asked for a 100 percent increase in advertising rates. “This overdue increase would still place government advertising rates at less than half of those paid by commercial advertisers.”
It asked the government to reduce NEPRA’s tariff for the provision of electricity to newspaper premises and presses by 50 percent and “FBR should be advised to exempt the 1.5% withholding tax on newspapers for the current fiscal year.”