Technology

TRAI to hold open house on Cross Media Ownership this month

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NEW DELHI: After having received forty responses and counter-responses, the telecom regulatory authority of India (Trai) has decided to hold an open house to take views of stakeholders on media ownership.

The open house has been slated for 18 May in Delhi. It had earlier been slated for 11 May but was postponed by a week.

Interestingly one of the counter-responses is from the administrative staff college of India, which had triggered the second consultation paper by Trai on the issue.

Trai had set 29 April as the last date for stakeholders to offer their cross-comments. The paper had been issued on 15 February but the final date had been extended in view of the ‘complexity of the issue‘.

The paper among other issues has sought comments on devising ownership rules for vertical integration between broadcasting and distribution entities.

The paper will also devise rules/restrictions in case of mergers and acquisitions in the media sector, and media ownership rules within and across media segments.

Methodology to measure ownership or control of an entity over a media outlet, identification of genres to be considered while framing media ownership rules and prescribing norms for mandatory disclosures by media entities are some other issues.

Trai has also discussed in its paper issues relating to identification of media segments wherein media ownership rules are to be prescribed, and identification of relevant markets for evaluating various parameters to be used for devising ownership rules and the methodology for measuring these parameters.

At the outset, TRAI said the paper had been issued at the request of the information and broadcasting ministry earlier last year following a report of the administrative staff college of India, in Hyderabad.

Trai said that it was felt that reasonable restrictions may need to be put in place on ownership in the media sector, to ensure media pluralism and to counter the ills of monopolies. It pointed out that such restrictions do exist in many international markets.

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