fifty years ago, MAY 12, 1972 Archives

Press ownership: panel completes study

New Delhi, May 11: The Prime Minister, Mrs. Indira Gandhi, told the Rajya Sabha to-day that a group of Union Ministers, which was looking into all aspects of the question of diffusion of newspaper ownership, had now come to the end of its labours. After its recommendations were received, the matter would be considered by the entire Cabinet. Mrs. Gandhi, who was replying to Mr. Bhupesh Gupta and others said she was sorry that there was some delay in taking a decision on this question. The delay was mainly due to the fact that the question was extremely complex and the Government, therefore, wanted to look into all aspects. Earlier, replying to Mr. Gupta, the Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting, Mrs. Nandini Satpathy, denied that the Government had shelved the proposed Bill for delinking the newspapers from the industrial houses and for the diffusion of ownership. She said a group of Ministers was at present examining certain proposals. The group, which had met four times, included Mohan Kumaramangalam, Mr. H.R. Gokhale, Mr. Raj Bahadur, Mr. Uma Shanker Dikshit, Mr. K.V. Raghunatha Reddy and herself. Since the matter was “very serious”, she could not say how long it would take for the Government to arrive at a decision. Mr. Gupta complained that one year had passed since the Government gave an assurance to bring forward a Bill for diffusion of ownership of newspapers. He wanted to know whether the Prime Minister had recently invited some editors of big newspapers to discuss this question and whether Mr. N.K. Nanporia who had suggested to the late Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru that the Press Commission’s recommendation should be implemented, was one of them.

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