Govt. not to alter existing FDI norms for media sector

NEW DELHI: The present government will not roll back any foreign investment norms in the media sector, including those changes brought about by the previous Bharatiya Janata party-led government.

Asked whether the present government is contemplating revisiting certain media guidelines, especially in the light of the International Herald Tribune case, a senior information and broadcasting ministry official said, "Why should we revisit (media) rules and guidelines?"

Allaying fears on investment norms in the media sector becoming more stringent, the official said there was no need for that. "After all, those norms (like 26 per cent foreign investment being allowed in the print medium) have been debated. There would be no rollback."

However, the official added that the government also would not rush into accepting or introducing new norms for those sectors where foreign investments are not allowed in the media. This was said in relation to a query on whether the government would allow foreign investment in private FM radio ventures too.

Meanwhile, the official clarified that neither I&B minister Jaipal

Reddy nor the ministry has any proposal to levy a cess on radio and TV sets sold in the country to generate additional funds for pubcasters, Doordarshan and All India Radio.

"What the minister said was that amongst the many options that are there to increase revenue for the pubcaster, cess is one of them. Such academic discussions do not mean that the government would actually go ahead and do it, though in the UK, BBC is partly like this," the official elaborated.

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