Regulators

No government interference in acquisition of Network 18 by RIL: Prakash Javadekar

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GOA: “There is no government interference in the acquisition of Network 18 by Mukesh Ambani owned Reliance Industries Limited,” announced I&B Minister Prakash Javadekar, brushing aside any rumour about BJP led government having a role to play in the recent acquisition of Network 18 by RIL. The newly appointed I&B Minister was addressing the gathering on the final day of GoaFest. Javadekar also accepted that cross media ownership was debatable and will be addressed soon.

“The I&B Ministry will always protect and respect the freedom of press,” emphasised Javadaker. The Minister further went on to say that I&B Ministry is looking at making both Doordarshan and All India Radio competitive. “It is my dream to make Doordarshan a success story,” he said.

“I would address the grievances of all cable operators if they take DD in the prime brand,” added the Minister on a lighter note. “The Ministry will take into consideration all the viewpoints of various stakeholders of the media and then take necessary actions in the near future,” he announced.  

The biggest challenge for the Minister will be the smooth rollout of the remaining two phases of digitisation. While in phase III of digitisation 11 crore set top boxes are expected to be installed, Javadekar is of the view that the set top boxes manufactured in China do not guarantee good value for money. “The Ministry is looking at creating opportunities to manufacture set top boxes locally. We will soon meet with both the Finance and Commerce Ministries to take this forward,” he said.  

Javadekar also touched upon the issue of FM radio in India. “I have already met all the FM radio heads and the way forward will be declared shortly.  The age old batteries of transmitters of AIR stations will soon get some ‘air’ as the Ministry is looking at replacing them with new ones,” he announced.  

The Minister, who believes in the age old thought that good advertising cannot make a bad product good and strongly feels that it holds true in today’s world too, also used the platform to address the advertising fraternity. “The difference that the nation will see now is not only difference in leadership but in its vision too,” he said.

Javadekar too has the experience of creating campaigns. The Minister who had crafted campaigns for his party away back in 1989 in Maharashtra said, “I truly understand the system that goes behind each campaign.”

Javadekar is impressed with what ASCI has been initiating and said the Ministry will give its complete support to the association. He also mentioned that issues related to ratings, if any, should be treated privately by advertisers and broadcasters unless there is conflict and they seek government intervention.

The Modi government has truly used the power of social media to scale up its communications. Javadekar said that under his leadership he will review the party’s social media activities very keenly. 

It will be interesting to see what Javadekar brings on table in the coming days for the media fraternity as a whole! 

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