Syed Khaled Shahbaaz
Hyderabad : The print media in India, newspapers in particular, will continue to thrive for the next 10-15 years, said Mr. S.M.Khan Director of Registrar of Newspapers of India, the central organization that issues titles and registrations for newspapers in India.
Shrugging off the concerns of the impact of new media on the print industry, he said “we have recorded a 5.8% growthin registrations over last year. I think that indicates that the print is unshaken by the developments in social (or new) media”.
He said “people are still interested in print media and they want to see the news in print. India has a future for print (industry). There are over 1 lakh registered newspapers and its growing every day. We are receiving nearly 100 new applications every day. The growth in vernacular newspapers is tremendous”, he added.
In a stark contrast to the west where print media is declining, there is formidable enthusiasm among Indians in registering a publication. “The RNI is issuing approximately 300-350 certificates of registrations every month.” Since, the registration process takes at least 3-4 months to complete, the number of registrations cannot be directly correlated with the number of applications received, nor does it signify the ratio of those rejected or deferred due to incomplete.
The Next Step:
Seemingly, the RNI which has completed 60 years on 1st July this year, has two agendas, thefirst being to digitize all its services. “We are planning to make all services online.” Currently, the RNI has made Title applications and Annual Statements online. “The next step is to make more services online.”
Eliminating Dormant Titles:
The second but parallel agenda is to counterfeit bogus and incompetent publicationsby deregistering their titles from RNI. The RNI currently cannot deregister the titles and is contemplating such decisive action by means of a Parliamentary act, which according to the RNI chief, is due to be passed in the Parliament of India shortly.
As obvious as it may seem, with over 100 new applications for title registrations received every day, the RNI which already has nearly 1.5 lakh registered titles is running out of new titles to be allotted to applicants.According to Mr. Khan, only about 25,000 publications regularly submit their annual statement. The aforesaid act, if approved by parliament, will allow a large number of papers that are not functional to be deregistered, if it the publication fails to submit the annual statement for three consecutive years.
The deregistration of dormant publications may make the same title available to a potential applicant thus partially solving the issue of dearth of titles, an issue RNI encountered with earlier this year.
Mr. Khan was speaking exclusively to this journalist after the dinner organized by Mr. Syed Vicaruddin, Chief Editor of nonagenarian Urdu daily Rahnuma-e-Deccan at the latter’s residence.
Speaking on the occasion, I & PR Commissioner Mr. Naveen Mittal said “these days, there is so much of multiplicity of papers that are not genuine. To curb this, we have made it compulsory for newspaper to regularly and periodically file their published copies with I&PR as one of the criteria to be considered for the release of the (I&PR) advertisements.”
It is pertinent to mention that Mr. S.M. Khan, a 1982 batch IIS officer, has formerly served as the spokesperson for the CBI, as the Director General of News at Doordarshan and more recently as Press Secretary for former President of India Dr.A.P.J.Abdul Kalam until his demise on July 27 last year.
Eminent personalities including Retd. Justice E. Ismail, Mr. Zahid Ali Khan, Editor – Siasat, Mr. Zaheeruddin Ali Khan, Managing Editor – Siasat, Dr. Syed Fazil Hussain Parvez, Chief Editor – Gawah Urdu Weekly were also present on this occasion.
Earlier, Mr. Syed Vicaruddin felicitated Mr. Khan and also presented a memento to Mr. Khan.
The author is a techie-turned-journalist. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or +91-9652828710