DELHI: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) on
Friday called for views from stakeholders on various restrictions
put forth on ownership of media, including on powers to the
government to prevent any entity from entering the media sector
in public interest.
its second consultation paper on media ownership, Trai has
also asked stakeholders to give their views if there are any
entities which need to be precluded from owning media enterprises,
in addition to political parties, religious bodies, government
or government-aided bodies which have already been recommended
by the regulator to be disqualified from entry into the broadcasting
and distribution sectors.
discussion paper has listed out 32 issues on which it wants
stakeholders to give their views, including on ownership rules
for vertical integration between broadcasting and distribution
paper has also sought views on what should be the rules/restrictions
in case of mergers and acquisitions in the media sector, and
media ownership rules within and across media segments.
The paper has been placed on the TRAI website and written
comments invited from stakeholders by 8 March and counter-comments
if any by 15 March.
It has also sought views on what methodology to be adopted
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.
also wants discussion on 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.
paper had been issued at the request of the Information and
Broadcasting (I&B) Ministry made last year following a
report of the Administrative Staff College of India, Hyderabad.
Trai said 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
However, media ownership rules, Trai said, should be so designed
to strike a balance between ensuring a degree of plurality
of media sources and content, and a level playing field for
companies operating in the media sector, and providing freedom
to companies to expand, innovate and invest.
Trai had prepared a similar paper in 2008, but the Ministry
felt that the situation had undergone a sea-change since then.