‘Print media will continue to thrive in India for long’

August 17, 2016
Syed Vicaruddin, editor in chief of Rahnuma-e-Deccan Urdu daily, second right, felicitates S.M. Khan, director general of Registrar of Newspapers of India, center, on his visit to Hyderabad at the former’s residence in Hyderabad last month. Also seen in the picture are Naveen Mittas, commissioner of Information and Public Relations, Zahed Ali Khan, editor in chief of Siasat, retired Justice E. Ismail and Habeebi. — Courtesy photo
Syed Vicaruddin, editor in chief of Rahnuma-e-Deccan Urdu daily, second right, felicitates S.M. Khan, director general of Registrar of Newspapers of India, center, on his visit to Hyderabad at the former’s residence in Hyderabad last month. Also seen in the picture are Naveen Mittas, commissioner of Information and Public Relations, Zahed Ali Khan, editor in chief of Siasat, retired Justice E. Ismail and Habeebi. — Courtesy photo

By Syed Khaled Shahbaaz
Saudi Gazette


HYDERABAD, India — The print media in India, newspapers in particular, will continue to thrive for the next 10-15 years, said S.M. Khan, director of Registrar of Newspapers of India (RNI), 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 percent growth in registrations over last year. I think that indicates that the print is unshaken by the developments in social (or new) media”.

He said that “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 100,000 registered newspapers and it is 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 palpable 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 information.

Meanwhile, the RNI which has completed 60 years on July 1 this year, has two agendas, the first 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.” The second but a parallel agenda is to counterfeit bogus and incompetent publications by de-registering their titles from RNI. The RNI currently cannot de-register 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 Indian Parliament shortly.

As obvious as it may seem, with over 100 new applications for title registrations received every day, the RNI which already has nearly 150,000 registered titles is running out of new titles to be allotted to applicants. According to 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 de-registered, if it the publication fails to submit the annual statement for three consecutive years.

The de-registration 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 earlier this year.

Khan was speaking exclusively to this journalist after the dinner organized by Syed Vicaruddin, editor in chief of nonagenarian Urdu-daily Rahnuma-e-Deccan at the latter’s residence.

Speaking on the occasion, Commissioner of Information and Public Relations (I&PR) 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 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, Zahid Ali Khan, editor of Siasat, Zaheeruddin Ali Khan, managing editor of Siasat, Dr. Syed Fazil Hussain Parvez, editor in chief of Gawah Urdu weekly were also present on this occasion.

Earlier, Syed Vicaruddin felicitated Khan and also presented a memento to Khan.


August 17, 2016
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