Newspaper owners, editors court arrest in Tripura

Editors and proprietors of newspapers in Tripura courted arrest Monday demanding withdrawal of the new newspapers guidelines, which they claimed has led to slashing of advertisement rates by 42 percent, even though the “production cost and other expenditure of the newspapers has risen”.

“The police arrested the 16 editors, owners and publishers of local newspapers while they were protesting against the new newspapers’ guidelines in front of the Tripura assembly, whose week-long monsoon session began Monday,” a police spokesman said.

Later, all the 16 editors and proprietors were released by the court.

The Tripura Newspapers Society (TNS), an apex body of the newspaper owners and publishers, has been spearheading a movement for the past few months in support of its 11-point charter of demands. This includes withdrawal of the new newspapers guidelines.

TNS joint conveners Arun Nath and Sanit Deb Roy said in the new policy, the state government has reduced the advertisement rates by 42 percent from January 2009 while the production cost and other expenditure of the newspapers has risen to a large extent.

“The economic situation of the media sector in India is so precarious that the Indian Newspaper Society (INS), for the first time, has advised its members to reduce the circulation numbers by 20 percent,” they added.

The opposition Congress and Indigenous Nationalist Party of Tripura (INPT) members Monday boycotted the proceedings of the assembly in the second half in support of the demands of the TNS.

The Tripura government said it was willing to talk to the newspaper owners and publishers to sort out the issue.

“We are always ready to discuss and solve any kind of problems and crisis,” Information Minister Anil Sarkar told IANS.

Chief Minister Manik Sarkar also gave a brief statement on Monday’s developments.

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