News Broadcasters Association Calls on Sonia Gandhi to Withdraw Suggestion to Ban Media Ads by Govt for 2 Years

New Delhi: The News Broadcasters Association (NBA) on Tuesday criticised Congress President Sonia Gandhi's suggestion to "impose a complete ban on media advertisements" by the government and PSUs for two years.

"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 demoralising," said a statement from the NBA.

Gandhi on Tuesday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi suggesting five measures to save money for the fight against COVID-19, including suspension of Central Vista beautification project and complete ban on media advertisements by government for two years.

She also called for putting on hold foreign visits by the President, Vice president and Union ministers as well as chief ministers of states and bureaucrats, and slashing the government's expenditure budget, other than salaries, pensions and central sector schemes, by 30%.

The suggestions came after Modi reached out to several opposition leaders, including Gandhi, on Monday and sought suggestions from them in fighting the fast-spreading coronavirus, which has claimed at least 114 lives and infected over 4,400 people in the country.

The NBA said while there has been a slump in advertisement revenues of electronic media due to recession on one hand, on the other hand it is suffering from financial blows due to the 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," it added, calling on Gandhi to withdraw her suggestion made to Modi.