Government sources told indiantelevision.com today that Zee Tele
had moved an application on 10 March indicating that it would be
undertaking a restructuring of Zee News to comply with the rules
Keeping their intention in mind and the submission that the whole
process would take some time, including various clearances that
have to be processed, it has been decided in principle to give Zee
News a “three-month extension,” government sources explained. This
is being done as the information and broadcasting ministry would
be unable to complete processing the Zee application soon.
In other words, since the government would not be able to process
the clearances quickly, considering the present government does
not have the mandate to take important policy decisions, an extension
to Zee News to be on air comes as a default.
According to guidelines announced by the government last year in
March, in the wake of the Star News controversy, which had generated
lot of heat in the domestic media industry, any news channel desirous
of uplinking from India cannot have more than 26 per cent foreign
holding in the news venture.
At the moment, Zee News is an operation under Zee Telefilms, a
listed company in which total foreign holding is over 60 per cent.
According to informed sources, Zee Telefilms has decided that the
news operations, including the assets, would be transferred to Zee
Sports, an Indian company that is majority controlled by Indian
shareholders. Whether Zee Sports at any given time in future would
attract some foreign investment is not known at the moment.
The model that is being followed by Zee Tele is somewhat similar
to Star News, where a separate company manages the news operation.
In Star News’ case, it is a joint venture company in which 74 per
cent is held by the Kolkata based ABP Group, while the remaining
is with Star Group Ltd. Hong Kong.
See earlier story -
Zee moves application
to restructure news uplinking operations