Industry

Parties, religious bodies must keep off broadcasting: TRAI

TRAI recommended a single independent media regulatory authority comprising predominantly of eminent non media persons for TV and print media to check and impose penalties for “paid news”, “private treaties” and issues related to “editorial independence“.File photo: M. Karunakaran   | Photo Credit: M_Karunakaran

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has proposed the barring of political parties, religious bodies, government-funded entities and affiliates from entering the broadcasting and television channel distribution sectors. TRAI has also proposed an appropriate exit route for many such entities that have already secured a foothold in these sectors.

In its latest recommendations on media ownership – released on Tuesday -- TRAI called for a legislation to regulate the participation of such entities in media and stressed that they be disqualified by executive order till such a law is in place. Acknowledging the use of surrogates by some of these entities to gain ownership of the media, TRAI said even this should be barred.

Citing conflict of interest, the Authority has recommended ownership restrictions on corporates entering the media. ``This may entail restricting the amount of equity holding/ loans by a corporate in a media company, viz., to comply with provisions relating to control,’’ TRAI noted.

On the issue of paid news, the TRAI has taken the view that disclaimers should be printed in bold letters announcing that the content has been paid for. Asserting that disclaimers in fine print will not suffice, TRAI has asked the Information & Broadcasting Ministry to ensure that this recommendation is implemented immediately. In the case of paid news involving politicians, TRAI has fixed responsibility on both parties; the media entity and the politician who has sought favourable coverage.

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Printable version | Oct 23, 2020 3:08:04 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/business/Industry/trai-suggests-restriction-on-political-parties-corporates-in-television-and-newspaper-media/article6308545.ece

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