Wednesday, September 8, 2010

If Kaieteur News' offer is sincere it should commit to carrying all, not most, Government Ads.

Desmond Morian: We have noted with interest the offer by Kaieteur News to carry “most if not all government ads, whenever space is available free of cost” The newspaper made this offer in a front page comment which ended with the statement “We await the reaction of Government to our offer.”
These advertisements are readily available on the Government’s e-procure internet website and can be easily copied and printed by anyone anywhere in the world.
If the newspaper industry is serious about carrying free advertisements for the Government in order to preserve the public interest it can commence doing so immediately. Why would they have to wait on the Government’s reaction to do so?
In their comment the newspaper states “We have always made it clear that our primary mission is not about money.
It is about making a difference in our country by providing the public with information and opinions which allow them to make informed choices: the very quintessence of democratic participation.”
On the surface this appears to be a noble sentiment. If the newspaper is really serious why should it offer to carry most of the ads and only on a space available basis? Surely by doing such a partial job they will deprive some sectors of the public the information which enables democratic participation thus defeating their own publicly stated sentiment.
If the newspaper is serious it should commit to carrying all, not most, and certainly not on a space available basis.
If we consider the financial implications of the issue we quickly realise that the publication of Government Advertisements guarantee readership from a large sector of very wealthy businesses that regularly interact with the Government. It is a known fact that the government spends billions of dollars each year to finance its activities in all sectors of the economy and most of the payments are made to local businesses whose very survival depends on their access to Government advertising.
Such businesses have been given an opportunity to access this information through the internet with searchable and archival features lacking in a print publication.
The loss of this readership can be a blow to the business projection of a local unsophisticated newspaper and must result in a decrease in not only advertising but more importantly the Circulation revenues of the newspaper.
How then can this newspaper say that the publication of Government Ads is not about money?

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