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Unknown newspapers sell copies in tens of thousands

10 August 2017 No Comment

by Senior Correspondent in bdnews24.com, Aug 9, 2017 at 20:37:57.0 BdST
Little-known and completely unheard-of print publications sell tens of thousands of copies in Bangladesh, if the Department of Film and Publication, the agency that distributes government advertisements, were to be believed.

The latest circulation figures for print newspapers and magazines released by the DFP has raised eyebrows and triggered ripples of laughter among the people involved with the media industry. This is because the print media is on the ropes, suffering from declining advertising revenue and circulation amid an onslaught from emerging online media.

Amid the frenzied discussions about Finance Minister AMA Muhith’s remarks about the pay cheques of journalists on Tuesday, a look into the DFP list reveals that many unheard-of newspapers boast selling tens of thousands of copies.

Like Amar Sangbad, Ganakantho sells 51,100, Dhaka Protidin and Naba Chetona 50,000 each, Dainik Bangla and Khabor have 40,000 circulation each, while Bangladesher Khabor and Bhorer Darpan sell 35,000 each.

These titles have a steady stream of revenue from the government in the form of adverts at different rates.

Several students of Dhaka University’s journalism department were asked about 15 English-language daily broadsheets but they could not even name them. All of them fancy their chances of working in an English daily that pays as per the wage board.

Bangladesh Pratidin tops the list of Bangla dailies with a daily circulation of 553,300, with Prothom Alo coming a close second with 501,800 copies printed daily.

Kaler Kantho and Jugantor ranked third jointly and surprisingly, with the same number of circulation – 290,200.

Ittefaq and Janakantha also print the same number of copies – 240,000, raising the eyebrows of the readers.

Among the English dailies, The Daily Star has the largest circulation of 44,814. The same list says New Age and Daily Observer have exactly the same circulation of 38,500.

On the list of English newspapers, Daily Sun and Asian Age print exactly the same number of copies daily. The case is the same for New Age and Daily Observer. On the list of English newspapers, Daily Sun and Asian Age print exactly the same number of copies daily. The case is the same for New Age and Daily Observer. Even an official of the DFP said similar messed up figures are there from the top to the bottom of the chart.

A person with insider knowledge of the newspaper industry told bdnews24.com that a Bangla daily, once atop the circulation league, publishes 17,000 copies now. But the DFP chart shows its current circulation is around 250,000.

Another newspaper with a circulation of over 200,000 in the chart actually prints 23,000 copies, he added. He spoke to bdnews24.com on condition of anonymity.

Finance Minister Muhith questioned the number of newspapers after emerging from a meeting with the owners of these newspapers, including Prothom Alo Editor Matiur Rahman.

Muhith said he has doubts that there are even 15 newspapers, at best 20.

“These some 500 newspapers, all bogus…you want to me fix a pay scale for them? No, not at all!… They get newsprint, this and that,” he said, speaking about the journalists’ demand for the ninth wage board.

The DFP has put the number of dailies published from Dhaka at 203, and once the number of daily publications from outside are added, the figure jumps to 479.

As many as 304 weekly, fortnightly, monthly and tri-monthly titles are brought out from Dhaka alone while media entities enlisted with the DFP total 634.
The DFP in the chart claims 44 Bangla-language and 15 English dailies in Dhaka and 32 vernacular dailies published from cities and towns are paying their staff as per the eighth wage board recommendations.

It says English newspaper Daily Industry is paying its employees in line with the eighth wage board with a circulation of 6,090.

An entry level reporter, when confirmed as a full time employee with benefits at an A Category newspaper, has a take-home pay of nearly Tk 40,000.

Bangla dailies Nawroz, Khaborpatra, Banglar Doot, Sonali Khabar and Prothom Kotha are among the newspapers that pay their employees following the Eighth Wage Board, according to the DFP list.

A journalist working in a newspaper, which the chart says has implemented the eighth wage board, said it does not pay regularly, much less implement the wage board.http://bdnews24.com/bangladesh/2017/08/09/unknown-newspapers-sell-copies-in-tens-of-thousands-so-says-dfp

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