Trai recommendation on media control and ownership by August
Jul 23 2014 , New Delhi
"In another two weeks, it must be out. Give me a little more time...But definitely before end of August," TRAI Chairman Rahul Khullar told reporters in reply to a query on expected time for releasing recommendation on media control and ownership.
Telecom Regulatory Authority of India had issued consultation paper on 'Issues relating to Media Ownership' in February 2013.
The regulator has sought public comments on the need, nature and level of restrictions and safeguards with respect to vertical integration in the broadcasting and distribution sectors and cross holdings across various media sectors.
TRAI's move had received mixed response from media houses.
Delhi Union of Journalists appreciated TRAI's initiative and suggested dismantling of existing monopolies and cross media empires.
Times Television Network suggested a ban on entry of lobbyists having association with public relations or political parties, religious bodies, urban and local administrative bodies, central government ministries and departments, and central government owned companies undertakings.
Commenting on the paper, The Indian Newspaper Society said that TRAI's role is not to visualise in terms of placing restriction on print media and examining cross media restrictions while including print media is a clear act of misdirection.
The same was echoed in comments by Bennett and Coleman Co. Ltd (BCCL) .
The BBCL said that instead of suggesting any cross holding restrictions, the government policy should be targeted on fair consolidation in each media vertical.
TV Today group said: "While plurality is vital for democracy since it helps to ensure that citizens have access to a variety of sources of news, information and opinion, the benefits of horizontal cross media ownership cannot be overlooked."
It further said that the objective of any regulation from the government should be to strike a right balance and provide for competition, diversity and plurality of players, news and views.
Besides media companies, industry bodies including Cable Operators Association of India, CII, CASBAA, FICCI and IAMAI also participated in consultation process.