NBA, AROI slam Sonia Gandhi’s call for 2-year ban on Govt ads during Covid-19 crisis

The Association of Radio Operators for India (AROI) and News Broadcasters Association (NBA) have strongly opposed the statement issued by Congress President Sonia Gandhi, recommending a complete ban of two years on media advertisements by Government and PSUs. As part of her suggestions to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, Gandhi had called for imposition of “a complete ban on media advertisements – television, print and online – by the Government and Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) for a period of two years”.

AROI in a statement issued said, “The last year has been a very difficult one for Radio, especially for radio stations in small towns, due to a huge drop in Government advertising.”

The Association pointed out that Radio has been wholeheartedly supporting the national war on COVID-19 through 380 private FM stations across India.

The radio industry body urged the Government to restore its advertising on Radio to normal levels.

“We also request Mrs Sonia Gandhi to please review and withdraw her suggestion and thereby demonstrate her support for one of the crucial pillars of democracy – Media,” the statement added.

The NBA’s statement stated, “At a time when media personnel, without fearing for their lives, are doing their national duty, by disseminating news on the pandemic, a statement like this from the Congress President is highly demoralizing.”

NBA pointed out that on the one hand there has been a slump in advertisement revenues of electronic media due to recession, on the other hand it is suffering from financial blows due to nationwide lockdown of all industries and businesses. Moreover, news channels are spending heavily on providing safety to their reporters and production staff. “To suggest a "complete ban" on government and PSU advertisements is not only ill-timed, but highly arbitrary,” the statement added. 

NBA called upon Gandhi to withdraw her suggestion made to the Prime Minister about "complete ban" on media advertisements for two years in the interest of a healthy and free media.


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