Bhopal: Though the number of women journalists in Bhopal can leave one surprised, most of them have never been spotted covering any event but are running websites which attract advertisements worth crores of rupees.
The public relations department of the Madhya Pradesh government has quite liberally benefitted these 'women journalists'.
In the last three years, advertisements worth crores of rupees have been given to around 200 websites, over 50 of them owned by women, Madhya Pradesh Public Relations Minister Rajendra Shukla told in the state assembly recently.
"First the government keeps the owners of media websites in good humour with plenty of advertisements, it does not miss a chance to affect the sharpness of any journalist who may have the potential to highlight the system's weaknesses," said senior journalist Bharat Sharma.
There are many journalists who run websites beside being employed with media organisations. On failing to collect government advertisements themselves, they launch such websites in their family members' name that ultimately draws many government advertisements.
This is the reason why so even various big issues fail to figure in local media.
According to Sharma, anyone refusing to get trapped in it is ensured by some government-linked people that he or she loses the job or gets transferred.
Many of the women-operated websites, which the Public Relation Department has revealed about, are either being operated from residential addresses or multiple websites have been registered at the same address.
Interestingly, hardly any one of the active women journalists are getting the advertisements.
Congress legislator Bala Bachchan told IANS it is feared that the state government might be spending money on bogus journalists in the name of websites.
According to public relation office sources, Rs.25,000 to Rs.50,000 monthly are spent on website advertisements. These funds are spent depending upon the influence of the website. This is the reason why someone recently got advertisments worth Rs.50,000 and someone worth Rs.18,00,000!