THE HINDU BUSINESS LINE
Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications Wednesday, August 06, 1997
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News

Broadcast Bill: Assocham against curbs on print media

Date: 06-08-1997 :: Pg: 03 :: Col: a

Our Staff Correspondent

NEW DELHI, Aug. 5

THE Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham) has expressed concern at the proposed restriction on the print media from holding more than 20 per cent equity in any broadcasting organisation.

The restriction proposed in the Broadcasting Bill, 1997, according to the Chamber, is not based on sound considerations and need to be changed. The Chamber feels that the argument for restricting the emergence of media monopoly through a ceiling of 20 per cent is probably based on cross media curbs in western countries.

A Chamber release states that while the western countries have many cities with one newspaper and only 2 to 4 television stations, the domestic situation seemed to be different. The Chamber is of the view that the presence of numerous newspapers in various languages in the country ensures plurality of views and therefore there is no need of apprehensions of monopoly in news dissemination or a couple of players monopolising the entire market.

The Chamber feels any limit on the equity at a stage when a few established newspapers have already set up broadcasting networks and made sizeable investments in the electronic sector will be a setback to their expansion plans.

The restrictions will also inhibit the introduction of capital- intensive state-of-the-art broadcasting technology in the country, the release adds.

A freer hand to the print media, according to the Chamber, to enter the arena of broadcasting would facilitate better collection of news and information. The Chamber feels that in view of the inherent synergy, newspapers should be preferred to the manufacturers of consumer articles in running television programmes.


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