Technology

IMG warns I&B against lifting media FDI cap

NEW DELHI: The Indian Media Group (IMG), a representative body of leading electronic and print media entities of India, has warned Information and Broadcasting minister Priyaranjan Dasmunsi of the dangers of increasing the FDI cap in DTH and IPTV sectors, which has been suggested by Trai recently.











In a letter sent to Dasmunsi last week, IMG had said: "We would like to point out that the said suggestion of Trai is fraught with danger as media is a sensitive sector and DTH, Cable TV, IPTV, FM radio being the media content carriers, are a part and parcel of media establishments.


"Accordingly treating them as indistinguishable and integral part of media, well deliberated and carefully thought out restrictions have been stipulated in this sector by the government, keeping in view the overall policy and interest of the country," it said.


IMG has said that television content whether news and current affairs or general entertainment have a direct and long lasting impact in minds of the people especially on the younger generation, which is why the electronic media is heavily regulated in most countries in the interest of the nation‘s security and other allied matters.


The IMG has reminded the minister of the 1955 Cabinet Committee headed resolution prohibiting the entry of foreign media in the newspaper industry.

 
"This resolution laid the foundation of independent India‘s policy with regard to the Print Media. All the successive governments have been consistently following it.

"The same equally applies to Electronic Media and the content delivery platforms associated with it viz. DTH, cable service and IPTV," the IMG letter says.


It feels strongly that the underlining rationale for restricting FDI in media sector both at content creation level and carriage level is to prevent the foreigners from gaining management control of the media entities.


"The media sector is a very, very sensitive sector and therefore it has been recognised that a differential treatment is needed as is done in various other countries as well. It may be pointed out that the many advanced countries continue to maintain a differential policy on ownership of media sectors / assets and services such as DTH, cable, etc.


The IMG letter says that though the US permits 100 per cent FDI in telecom sector, it still has strict control the in media sector, including the need for - citizenship of USA as a precondition for obtaining common carrier licence.


"Similarly, in UK, Canada, France, South Korea and Japan also restrictions on Foreign Direct Investment are in place so as to safeguard the interest of their domestic media entities."


"In view of the above, Indian Media. Group (1MG) strongly opposes the recommendation of Trai in this regard and urge upon the government to straightaway reject the same, being totally inconsistent with the established media policy of the country.


This is because, according to the Group, any such move has the potential of undermining the independence, sovereignty and security of the county.

 

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