Government mulling FDI increase for print media: Soni

New Delhi : Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni Thursday said the government was assessing the request of media houses to scale up FDI from the existing 26 to 49 percent in the print media and promised her support to the recession-hit magazine business in India.

“The government is evaluating the request of media houses to further increase the FDI (foreign direct investment) limit from the existing 26 percent to 49 percent in consultation with the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI),” Soni said at the annual Indian Magazine Congress here.

Alluding to the growing international interest in the Indian magazine business and the government’s nod to the publication of Indian edition of foreign magazines dealing with news and current affairs, Soni asked key media players to evolve a consensus on the issue within the industry.

Reiterating her commitment to “proactively nurturing” the magazine business in India, Soni assured that the amendments in the Press and Registration of Books Act (PRB) would be expedited to bring the statute in line with the vastly expanded media market.

In this context, she emphasised that her ministry was trying to ensure more powers to Registrar of Newspapers for India (RNI) in the registration/cancellation of titles for checking non-serious players. The minister added that the preamble of the PRB Act would be modified to insert provisions on FDI, including syndication, facsimile edition and the Indian edition of foreign publications.

With the depressing impact of recession on the media industry as a backdrop, Soni said the Rate Structure Committee report, which will look into the revision of government advertisement rates routed through the Directorate of Advertising and Visual Publicity (DAVP), would also be finalised soon.

Soni invited representatives from the Association of Indian Magazines to interact with officials of the information and broadcasting ministry to discuss these issues.

In the last five years, the information and broadcasting ministry has given approvals for publications of 351 magazines/journals.

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