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Union minister M Venkaiah Naidu today said action will only be taken against those newspapers which exist "only on paper", amid rumours that the government has stopped publication of over 3,000 dailies or journals in the last three years.
Information and Broadcasting Minister Naidu said there is "not a single newspaper" that has been impacted due to action by the Directorate of Advertising and Visual Publicity (DAVP), the nodal agency for providing government advertisements to newspapers.
"This is wrong news (that over 3,000 newspapers have been put on hold). Action has only been taken only on those papers which are 'only on paper'," Naidu said responding to a query over the government's action.
Naidu said the enquiry was conducted only against those newspapers which are not published but shown to exist in documents simply to claim government advertisements.
"The papers should be published and only then should they claim the advertisements," he added.
The minister said a "wrong impression" was being created that the government was taking action against small newspapers.
"There is no question of taking action on any paper (which publishes)," Naidu said, adding if by mistake any action has been taken wrongly against any newspaper, it could contact him or his officials for revoking the suspension.
Highlighting the magnitude of the problem, Naidu said it was found that 2,000 papers were shown as being published in a single state, and in another case, a printing press was supposedly printing 65 newspapers.
"Is it possible practically?" Naidu asked.