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INS concern at attacks on newspapers

By Our Special Correspondent

KOZHIKODE DEC. 12. The Indian Newspaper Society has expressed grave concern at the growing incidence of attacks on newspaper establishments and decided to bring these to the attention of the governments concerned.

At a meeting of its national executive at the Kadavu Resorts, near here, on Thursday, the INS condemned the arrest warrants issued against five senior representatives of The Hindu and the Editor of Murasoli by the Tamil Nadu Assembly, and the more recent attack on the office of Deepika in Kannur, Kerala. Problems related to the advertisements put out by public sector undertakings also figured at the meeting.

Briefing newspersons today, the INS president, M.P. Veerendra Kumar, said that seminars would be organised in the coming months to highlight the need to safeguard the independence of the press and to prevent encroachments on its freedom, arising from acts of highhandedness by the executive and the legislature.

The INS also decided to reject advertisements of the Central PSUs from January 1, 2004, unless they are released at commercial rates. At present, these advertisements are released by the Central Government on the Directorate of Advertising and Visual Publicity rates.

The INS' advertisement committee felt that only advertisements of the Central Government and Government organisations that had a social content should be released through the DAVP.

An INS delegation would take up the matter with the Information and Broadcasting Minister. If the Government did not accede to the request, the INS' member-publications would not accept Central PSU advertisements through the DAVP.

It was decided to submit a pre-budget memorandum to the Union Finance Minister after obtaining the views of INS member-publications. It would demand the abolition of customs duty on newsprint, abolition or reduction of levies on printing machinery, spare parts and consumables.

The INS had recently commissioned the Indian Market Research Bureau to conduct in Delhi, Mumbai and Bhopal an impact multiplier study, the first such attempt in Indian market conditions.

According to the study, the response of the people was greater when both print and TV medium were used for advertising a product, than when either of them was used, Mr. Veerendra Kumar said.

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