We sincerely thank you for your continued support and patronage of our newspaper, “The Free Press Journal,” over all these years. As you are aware, the year 2020 has not been fruitful due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which still continues to affect our daily lives.
We wish to inform our valued readers that over the past few months, the newspaper industry has been going through a tough time due to a steep rise in the cost of newsprint, printing ink and other raw materials. Further, the government has imposed 5% customs duty on newsprint. The increase in transportation costs due to rise in fuel prices at regular intervals, besides increase in input cost, have drastically increased the overall production cost of newspaper publication.
To add fuel to the fire, a sharp decline in advertisements has aggravated problems for the print media industry, which is by and large dependent on advertisement revenue.
The imposition of 5% customs duty on import of newsprint reels is indirectly placing a curb on the vital function and right of newspapers to disseminate information, and ultimately restricts the reader’s access to accurate information. There are various reasons which compel newspaper companies to import newsprint reels. The indigenous newsprint manufactured in India is of inferior quality and its stability is so weak that it cannot sustain the high-speed operation of the printing machine due to its strength, resulting in tearing of the newsprint reels very often.
Moreover, initial restrictions by the Government of Maharashtra prevented vendors from entering housing society complexes to deliver newspapers to readers at their doorstep. Even now, several housing societies are not allowing access to vendors for doorstep delivery of newspapers. This has adversely affected the circulation of newspapers. The above factors have resulted in closure of several newspapers and partial suspension of supplements of publications.
In the given circumstances, and keeping our readers in mind, we are left with no option but to marginally increase our cover price by Rs.1 from Rs.2 to Rs.3 with effect from Tuesday, 22.12.2020, which still remains the lowest price of any English daily newspaper published from Mumbai. We reaffirm our commitment to provide quality news content to our valued readers.