ILNA: facilitating interests
of Indian languages newspapers

Elected for the third consecutive term as the president of Indian Languages Newspapers Association (ILNA), Paresh Nath has effectively been endeavouring to ensure strong stand for the vernacular newspapers in appropriately fulfilling their common interests. In a vis-à-vis conversation with Ajeet Singh from All About Newspapers, he shared the association’s achievements during the previous terms apart from divulging his goals set to be achieved during the current term.

Established around seven decades ago with the objective to promote the development of vernacular newspapers/periodicals by making representations, and by holding consultations with Union and State Governments, and other bodies, Indian Languages Newspapers Association (ILNA) has now become proactive in an attempt to achieve their common causes. Members are now very enthusiastic about ILNA and the constitution of the association was amended to allow Paresh Nath of Delhi Press to continue as president of ILNA for the consecutive third term.“When I took over as the president of ILNA during the first term, there were only sixty-seventy active members of this organization, but now its membership has reached to around five hundred ones from all regions of the country as now we facilitate their interests rather effectively,”conveyed Nath, envisaging much benefits for ILNA members.

Hounding the government…

Paresh Nath
Most of the achievements of Paresh Nath as ILNA president come by way of mounting pressure on the government bodies to adequately rationalize their polices towards vernacular newspapers.“Government advertisement policy goes biased against the vernacular newspapers. So much so that even Hindi advertisements from government departments are released in English newspapers’ Chennai editions. It is not only injustice with vernacular newspapers but also unfair distribution of government money. DAVP issued around 2,200 advertisements to English dailies in Delhi, while only 600 ads were released to Hindi newspapers and some known titles got in tens and twenties only. Through ILNA, we have been hounding the government to remove this anomaly. We are trying our best to ensure fair practice in this regard, highlighting the concerns of language newspapers with the government bodies.We don’t want any subsidy on newsprint or printing machinery from the Govt, but a fair and equal distribution of government advertisements should be ensured,” added Nath.

“Empanelling newspapers with the government bodies for advertisements should be fair. It is a right of newspapers not a concession to be provided,” he emphasized. Hindi and other language newspapers do great jobs, despite biased approach towards them. Most of the vernacular newspaper publishers are not even aware of discrimination done toward them and they are ill equipped to deal with this biased situation, so ILNA has been making them aware about the prevailing scenario while strengthening their stand to fight the injustice,” he explained further.

“Another achievement of ILNA is to force the government to withdraw the order of auditing the circulation by an outsider chartered accountant. Under this provision, RNI was authorized to get the circulation audited by an outside accountant at the cost of the concerned newspaper establishment, which was not affordable by small vernacular newspapers,” he mentioned. “Regarding this, we got an order from Delhi High Court in 2010, underling that PRB Act does not permit RNI to deploy third party for such auditing,” informed Nath.

“Besides, in the year 2012, Indian Railways reduced concession granted to periodicals, resulting around 200 percent increase in freight charges, which were also not affordable for magazine publishers. Regarding this, we approached the Railway Ministry and got the reversal of the policy,” said Nath.

On the agenda…

Since very beginning, ILNA has been agitating against wage board recommendations, by emphasizing that it should not be applied to language newspapers. “As vernacular newspapers get very little government ads, these should not be compelled to pay the government recommended salary. The data presented by employees’ unions to the wage board has been from those newspaper establishments who publish English newspapers, and earned crores of rupees of profit. Language newspapers do not make much money, and so they are not in position to afford the implementation of such recommendations,”conveyed Nath talking about ILNA’s stand regarding the issue of implementation of Wage Board recommendations, which is currently under consideration before the Supreme Court of India.

ILNA is also opposing the amendment to PRB Act 1867. “Piloted by Ambika Soni, the bill regarding the proposed amendments, now pending with the Parliament, intends to convert publishing from a ‘right’ to a ‘license’.Our demand is to simply enhance the scope of this right to publish newspapers and not to reduce it. And not a single change in the bill is expected to enhance the freedom for publications,” he said.

“Now, we are also agitating before the Ministry of Commence to get the removal of anti-dumping duty on digital plates in the country. In India, CtP or CtCP plates are manufactured by only one company who has succeeded in getting imposition of this duty to create their monopoly in the market. Resultantly, newspaper publishers are incrring 25-30 percent increase in cost on this process. It means a small newspaper needs to spend rupees four to five lac extra on this account every year. On our opposition, the ministry has assured us to reconsider the issue and we are expecting a positive result in this regard,” said Nath adding, “If this duty exists, it is beneficial only for that monopoly player.”


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