Newspapers in Assam will begin a three-day boycott of all news, advertisements and photographs of the state government in protest against its alleged apathy towards the problems faced by media houses, The Assam Tribune reported. The boycott will begin from March 10.
The decision was taken at a general meeting of the North East Newspaper Society held in Guwahati on Friday. The society said that while the price of newsprint, print material and transportation has increased, the government has failed to revise the rates of advertisements since 2014.
During a meeting with the society in February last year, Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal had assured them that the payment process would be centralised. He had also promised that payments would be made within 60 days, all outstanding dues would be cleared and rates of advertisements will be revised every year. “Even the Gauhati High Court has issued an order in this regard, but it has not been honoured as yet,” said the society.
Society representatives later met the additional chief secretary, but it did not yield a result.
“The newspaper houses did not have any other option but to call for the boycott,” said the society in a statement. “If the government fails to initiate any steps to resolve the issues even after that, the newspaper houses will be forced to take sterner decisions.”
The meeting, chaired by Kanak Sen Deka of Dainik Agradoot, was attended by Prafulla Govinda Baruah of The Assam Tribune, Sadin-Pratidin Group’s Jayanta Baruah, Subrata Sarma of Dainik Janambhumi, Samir Agarwala and Pranab Talukdar of GL Publications, Khagen Chandra Deka and Sunil Kumar Singh of Asomiya Khabar, Swapnil Bharali and Kaushik Hazarika of G Plus, Rameswar Chauhan of Hills Times and Pranjal Sen Deka of Dainik Agradoot, among others.