TRAI to frame new media ownership rules

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Telecom Regulatory Authority of India: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai), which oversees both the telecom and broadcasting industries in the country, is finalizing new recommendations on media ownership, its chairman PD Vaghela said on Wednesday.

Speaking at the CII Big Picture Summit in New Delhi, Vaghela said the rules were meant to address concerns about concentration of media ownership and the threat it poses to the right to freedom of expression.

By the way, Trai had published a consultation document in April this year, which talked about media ownership issues.

“Several problems have been identified with the concentration of media ownership. The most significant of these is the threat to freedom of speech and democracy, Vaghela said.

His comments come as the Adani group and New Delhi Television promoters are embroiled in a takeover conflict in the domestic media sector (NDTV). SEBI has approved Adani Group’s open offer for additional shares in NDTV next week, after the group announced its intention to buy a 29.18% stake in the company in August.

Also, this would be the second time in eight years that TRAI has issued recommendations on media ownership. The regulator had last published rules on media ownership in 2014, but the government did not follow them. Among the proposals then were restrictions on political parties’ access to the broadcast media. The regulatory authority has also proposed several restrictions on the ability of business people to invest in the area.

The TRAI chairman also mentioned the difficulties the television industry was facing due to the New Tariff Order 2.0 (NTO 2.0), which reduced the price of independent channels from Rs 19 to Rs 12, and added new restrictions on channel bundling. and distribution. The implementation of NTO 2.0, which was supposed to start this month, has been postponed to February 2023.

The supervisory authority has also found problems in network capacity payments, multi-TV discounts and the distribution of income distribution between different companies.



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