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Journalism’s battle for survival

Huge increases in paper prices, delayed payments for advertisements, and cuts in government expenditure on advertising, have all affected genuine newspapers, like this one. It is no secret that most media houses these days are a side concern of a huge business interest. These interests range from cooking oil, college networks, even bakeries. In such an environment, where funds can be pumped into a media house, because it is cost effective to protect the interests of the owner in a different industry, journalism as a stand alone profession has become an endangered species.

No profession can thrive without financial viability. This newspaper has survived long stretches — years — without any government advertising whatsoever. The current government intends to operate in a climate of austerity, and as a result intends to cut down government advertising as well. This would be less cause for alarm if the economic climate encouraged businesses to grow, and offer their products for consideration with enthusiasm, through advertising. Sadly that is not yet the case.

Indeed even past advertising is insufficient to see businesses be comfortable in these difficult times. Because advertising dues by the billions still remain unpaid. These are monies that newspapers have already paid tax on, monies that were owed years ago, monies that have been earned and are not being asked for as a favour.

This crisis is of the creation largely of the previous government. However it falls on the PTI’s shoulders to correct it. No doubt the current climate of austerity will have to be accounted for by newspapers as well, and we will all have to make adjustments. But our dues, that we have earned, must be paid. Without that liquidity, the difficulties of genuine media houses, such as this one, cannot be solved. Media houses with supporting businesses must be second priority in payments. Advertising revenues are the lifeblood for journalists who only have journalism to rely on. Where news is the only business they are in. And where news is not just the icing on the proverbial cake.courtesy The Nation

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