Govt says it is studying Star New replies on editorial control

NEW DELHI:The Indian government today said that it received another set of replies from Star News to queries including those on editorial control of the channel and the company that has applied for uplinking news content from India for the channel and they are being examined.

"We have received the replies and are in the process of studying them," an information and broadcasting ministry official said today.

Though the official did not give any details of the replies filed by Star News on the channel and Media Content & Communications Services India Pvt. Ltd (MCCS), the company that has applied for uplinking, it was admitted that the government is training its microscope on the ownership and control of the company.

The government feels that majority shareholding in MCCS may rest with Indians, but the actual control lies with the Rupert Murdoch-owned Star, which is a 26 per cent equity stakeholder in the company.

Still, in its application filed before the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB), Star News Broadcasting Ltd. has stated that the editorial control rests with resident Indians. Star News’ application seeking clearance from the government to invest 26 per cent in MCCS is still pending with the FIPB as the administrative ministry, the I&B ministry, had asked for a deferment because the case was being studied.

It is expected that the FIPB would take up Star News’s investment case sometime next month, by which time an inter-ministerial group set up to study media laws, in the light of the Star News case, would have had some deliberations on the issue.

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