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NBA Requests I&B Ministry: Provide Stimulus Package, Clear Govt Advertisement Dues Of Channels

In a letter to Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar, NBA president Rajat Sharma said the broadcast media has taken several steps to ensure social distancing for the safety of the editorial personnel and staff.

Photo Credit : PTI

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Underlining that the COVID-19 crisis has put broadcast media under severe financial stress, the News Broadcasters Association on Monday urged the Information and Broadcasting Ministry to provide a stimulus package for them and ensure that the government advertisement dues of over Rs 64 crore owed to the news channels are cleared.

In a letter to Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar, NBA president Rajat Sharma said the broadcast media has taken several steps to ensure social distancing for the safety of the editorial personnel and staff.

This has resulted in the operating costs of news broadcasters going up exponentially during the current pandemic and the lockdown, Sharma said.

"Advertisements which is an integral and essential part of the business and the main source of revenue for the news broadcasters has come under severe pressure during this pandemic/lockdown," he said.

Advertising agencies are putting huge pressure to defer the payments to broadcasters and to allow more time over and above the 60 days credit period, Sharma said in the letter.

"To overcome the financial crisis, we are suggesting that the MOI&B (Ministry of Information and Broadcasting) announce a stimulus package for the broadcast media," he said.

The NBA suggested increasing rates of Bureau of Outreach and Communication/ Directorate of Advertising and Visual Publicity advertisements by 50 per cent.

In the letter, the NBA also called for a substantial increase in budgetary allocations of all ministries/departments and organisations of the government for dissemination of information or communication relating to COVID-19 pandemic by BOAC/DAVP through private satellite TV channels for its widest reach to all sections of the society.

"Further, we have been representing to the MoI&B for several years, the issue of outstanding dues of BOC/DAVP of our member broadcasters, which is pending since 2010, and there has been no resolution till date," Sharma said.

"We have collated the current outstanding dues reported by our member broadcasters with regard to various Ministries/Departments released by BOC/ DAVP up to 31.3.2020. The total outstanding dues reported by members of NBA is approximately Rs.64,49,87,733, a substantial amount, which has remained unpaid over the years," he said.

The outstanding amount pertaining to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting reported by the members is approximately Rs.8,62,25,333, Sharma said.

Payment of these outstanding dues of BOC/ DAVP will give some relief to the broadcasters who are under severe financial stress, he noted.

If the payments have not been made to the broadcasters due to non-receipt of payment, it is requested that the I&B ministry kindly take up the matter with the concerned ministries or departments and organizations of the government to release the long overdue payment expeditiously to BOC/ DAVP.

The NBA is an association exclusively of round-the-clock news broadcasters in India. It has 27 broadcasters as its members representing 77 channels.

(PTI)



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COVID-19 news broadcasters association