GUWAHATI, July 17 - The Guwahati Press Club (GPC) has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar asking for a stimulus package for the media industry of the State in the wake of the losses media houses have incurred due to the lockdown.
In a memorandum, the GPC has also asked the Centre to facilitate immediate release of all the advertisement dues the government owes to the media houses.
The GPC has also sent copies of the memorandum to Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and Media Adviser to Chief Minister Hrishikesh Goswami.
�...Our country, we all know, is going through a tough time due to the COVID-19-induced lockdown, which has adversely affected various sectors leading to large-scale layoffs and salary cuts. Media industry too, is, no exception. Circulation of newspapers and magazines has gone down drastically due to the pandemic and the revenue model of media houses � be it print, electronic or new media � has been hit, not to forget the increasing maintenance costs/cost of raw materials,� GPC president Manoj Kumar Nath and general secretary Sanjoy Ray stated in the memorandum.
The GPC has also expressed concern at the uncertain future the mediapersons are facing due to large-scale layoffs and pay cuts in the media houses.
The memorandum also pointed out that unlike in most parts of the country where the unlock process has already begun, the situation in Assam continues to remain grim with no immediate solution in sight. Guwahati, the gateway to North East India, where most of the leading media houses are headquartered, continues to be under lockdown, making things even worse.
The memorandum further pointed out that, unable to endure the pressure of the financial burden, many media houses have resorted to pay cuts and some are even contemplating shutdown. �According to a recent assessment, the print media industry alone has suffered losses to the tune of Rs 4,500 crore in the first two months of lockdown (i.e during the months of March and April), which could be an indicator towards the scale of loss the media industry has to sustain till date,� the memorandum stated.