ASIA-PACIFIC

 
Published: Monday 31 July 1995

-- (Credit: Rustam Vania)A snowballing newsprint crisis in the Asia-Pacific region has been the reason behind endless traumas for the region's newspaper publishers. Soaring cover prices and advertising rates and rumours of staff cutbacks have plagued the industry; some newspapers have simply lowered their shutters, while others are reducing page numbers to cope with the dwindling stocks and crippling prices.

Hong Kong's oldest and youngest newspapers -- the Overseas Chinese Daily News and the Hong Kong Today respectively -- ceased publication last year; some inflation-weary readers have started renting newspapers by the hour. In Bangkok, failure of foreign paper mills to keep up with the high demand, mill strikes for higher wages, increasing price of paper pulp and the closure of mills amid environmental protests have doubled newsprint rates.

Japan is one of the few countries in the region not hit by a supply shortage, since it imports only 20 per cent of material used for newsprint and recycles nearly 50 per cent of it.

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