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news details
Fall of PDP-BJP Govt may end hegemony of Information Deptt
'DIPR didn't follow any set criteria for distribution of government advertisements'
6/24/2018 11:34:49 PM
Early Times Report

Jammu, June 24: The fall of the PDP-BJP coalition government in Jammu and Kashmir is likely to end the hegemony of the officials of the state-run Information department who left no stone unturned to appease their political bosses during the past three and a half years.
The officials who controlled the department threw all the norms to winds and favoured the publications which they liked.
A source said that officials of the Information got away with anything as they were not answerable to anyone. "During the past three years no one asked them what they were doing. Despite news reports and RTIs being filed nothing changed on the ground. Officials remained untouched and they carried on in the way they liked," he added.
A RTI which was filed in November 2017 had revealed that Information department did not follow any set criteria for distribution of the government advertisements.
A reply under Right to Information Act sought by a newspaper owner had revealed that Department of Information and Public Relations doesn't differentiate between a colour and a black and white newspaper when it comes to the distribution of advertisements.
The Department had mentioned that the government paid Rs 31 crores to newspapers during 2016-2017. The same practice was adopted in this financial year (2017-2018).
The information supplied by the department had revealed that the DIPR made no distinction between a colour and a black and white newspaper and distributed advertisements to them on equal basis. In one such case a weekly newspaper received 430-510 cm advertisement for 4 issues while a daily colour newspaper received 700-1060cm in 25 issues.
The RTI had revealed that a newspaper that had stopped publication had received nearly 500 centimetres.
For a short period of time senior PDP leader Choudhary Zulfikar was given the charge of the department. After the replies of the RTI came to fore, he ordered attachment of one of the joint directors of the Information department but he had to cancel the order as the employees of the department went on a strike. " The then minister had to succumb under pressure which was exerted on him by his party's political leadership," the source said.
Zulfikar had even ordered an enquiry to look into the unfair distribution of the advertisements but that enquiry was never completed.
An editor of a local daily said, "The undue political interference ruined the Information department as it was being run at the whims and fancies of a few PDP ministers, who wanted a few Jammu based newspapers to toe their line and stop highlighting the rampant corruption and how separatists were being patronized by the Kashmiri politicians."
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