Bangladesh Sangbadpatra Parishad (BSP) has requested the government to declare Tk10,000 crore as a grant or stimulus package to save the news industry which is going through unprecedented difficulties caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
BSP submitted a letter in this regard to the prime minister on April 27. The news industry is in such a shabby condition that it will collapse without proper subsidy and attention from the government, said BSP general secretary Mohammad Nizam Uddin Jitu through a press release issued on Sunday.
He thanked the government for taking various measures amid the crisis including stimulus packages in various sectors to keep the country's economy moving forward.
Due to the 8-week general holiday, the newspaper distribution system has collapsed, and advertisements have dropped drastically.
Besides, by providing news to the people, the mainstream media or newspapers also have to face rumours and fake news.
During the crisis, authentic news is as important as medical services, said Nizam Uddin Jitu.
Though the media in Bangladesh has faced big challenges in the past, newspaper entrepreneurs are now worried about paying journalists and other staff if the crisis continues for long.
As all offices are closed from March 26 to May 16, newspaper sales have dropped, and the income of hawkers has become almost zero.
Due to the crisis, many newspapers will not be able to pay staff salaries for April and the festival bonus.
So, BSP has urged the prime minister to consider the following demands: Immediate declaration of Tk10,000 crore grant or stimulus package for the news industry; directives for quick disbursement of advertisement arrears from various government institutions and private organisations; waive all VAT on income from advertisements; ensure proper treatment for newspaper owners, editors, publishers, journalists and other staff along with financial support in case anyone dies; allocate special package for media workers who risk their lives amid the crisis; increase advertisement budget three times; emergency help for poor hawkers; make a policy for publishing e-tender full advertisement online; directives to ensure payment of advertisement bills within one month of publication.