NEW DELHI, May 20 - The Central and state governments� advertising arms owe between Rs 1,500 crore and Rs 1,800 crore to various media houses going by industry estimates, the Indian Newspaper Society(INS) has told the Supreme Court, and expressed fears that there is little prospect of recovering the arrears any time soon.
The INS made this submission in an affidavit while highlighting the financial constraints faced by the media industry which was also flagged by the News Broadcasters Association (NBA).
In a separate affidavit, the NBA said due to spread of COVID-19 and lockdown measures, the business of the entire industry which was already under a deep financial constraint, has been �extremely severely affected�.
Terming the situation as �unprecedented�, the NBA further said that no packages or measures have been announced for news broadcasters by the government, even as their business collapsed.
The affidavits by the INS and the IBA were filed in response to the notices issued by an apex court bench headed by Justice N V Ramana on a PIL by three journalists bodies � National Alliance of Journalists, Delhi Union of Journalists and Brihanmumbai Union of Journalists.
The three journalists bodies had alleged that the employees including scribes are being terminated and steps like unilateral steep wage cuts and sending workers on indefinite unpaid leave are being taken by managements citing the nationwide lockdown since March 25 to contain the coronavirus pandemic.
�As per various industry estimates, Directorate of Advertising and Visual Publicity (DAVP) owes between Rs 1,500 and Rs 1,800 crore to various media companies. A large chunk of this i.e. Rs 800-900 crore is owed to the print industry alone. Such amounts have been outstanding for several months and there is little prospect of realising the same any time soon,� the INS said in its affidavit. � PTI