TRAI Has Got It All Wrong
August 16, 2014
TRAI Chairman Rahul Khullar is public-spirited and is concerned about the abuses of news media but has got it all wrong says T N Ninan in his Saturday column. Banning religious institutions and political parties will meet with oppostion from established players. It will also violate the fundamental right to speech. Khullar's 'fit and proper' guidelines suit banks but not news media. Family owned companies, which dominate news media, have blurred the line between editorial and advertising, so banning diversified corporates may not solve the problem.
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(Photo is courtey of Business Standard)
'Corporates Owning Media Have Not Been Able To Have Their Way'
August 16, 2014
TRAI's reasons for curbing corporate control on news media do not square with reality, says Financial Express editor Sunil Jain in its editorial. "If it was as easy to buy influence as Trai thinks it is, surely a Reliance buying into a TV18 group would have ensured prices of natural gas were raised a long time ago? But it didn’t because there is sufficient plurality; the fact that people knew about KM Birla being named in Coalgate and Subrata Roy being arrested despite Hindustan Times not carrying the Birla news on page 1 and Sahara the Roy one on its channels is also testimony to the same point, that too much is being made of corporate ownership. Indeed, if the media was as prone to abuse as is being made out, the big 2G-type scams would never have come to light. Trai is right to stress on disclosure of ownership and of business relationships, but asking for a regulator to ensure ‘internal plurality’ is a bit much for a profession that lives only on its credibility. With full disclosure, users will factor in politicians or even governments owning newspapers/channels, just as they do with the national broadcaster, Doordarshan. Apart from anything else, as a regulator that has caused so much of the telecom mess in the past, Trai should know regulatory solutions have their own pitfalls."
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Photo courtesy: Indian Express