Indian Government Issues Guidelines for publication of Indian editions of foreign magazines

The Union Government has decided to allow publication of Indian editions of foreign magazines publishing news and comments on public news i.e., periodicals falling in the news and current affairs category, by Indian entity(ies), with or without foreign investment. Entities/publishers of such editions would be eligible for attracting 26% foreign investment. The ceiling of total Foreign Direct Investment {which includes foreign direct investments by Non-Resident Indians (NRIs), Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) and portfolio investments by recognized Foreign Institutional Investors (FIIs), together} is up to 26%, as per the provisions of the FDI Guidelines issued by the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting from time to time.

‘Magazine’ for the purpose of these guidelines will be defined as ‘a periodical publication brought out on non-daily basis containing public news or comments on public news’. Any Indian entity, with or without foreign investment, will be permitted to publish an Indian edition of a foreign magazine falling in the news and current affairs sector. Entities/Publishers of such editions would be eligible for attracting 26% foreign investment as per FDI Guidelines issued by this Ministry from time to time.

The title of the magazine should be got verified and subsequently registered by the Indian entities/publishers from the Registrar of Newspapers for India (RNI) under the Press and Registration of Books Act, 1867 and as per procedure in vogue.

The broad parameters for granting such permission are : That the publisher/owner of the foreign magazine of which Indian edition is proposed to be published should have sound credentials. Permission to publish such editions would be granted only to those entities/publishers which are registered as an Indian company with the Registrar of Companies under the provisions of the Indian Companies Act, 1956.

The Indian companies would be allowed to enter into financial arrangements (such as royalty payment arrangements, etc.) with the owners of the foreign magazines subject to the rules and regulations of the Government of India issued on the matter from time to time. At least 3/4th of the Directors on the Board of Directors of the Applicant Indian Company and all key executives and editorial staff should be resident Indians.

The applicant Indian company shall frame its Articles/Memorandum of Association to ensure compliance with the prescribed eligibility criteria. 100% identical content of the foreign magazine concerned would be allowed and the Indian publisher would be free to add local content and advertisements.

That permission may be granted for publication of only such magazines which are being published in the country of their origin with the approval of the regulatory authority of the respective Governments of those countries in cases where such approvals are granted by the Governments.

That the proposed publication should have been published continuously for a period of at least 5 years, and the publication must have had a circulation of at least 10,000 paid copies in the last financial year in the country of its origin. The period of continuous publication and circulation must be certified by the respective Governmental authority of the country, and if there is no such Governmental authority regulating such matters, the certificate should be from respected and recognized agencies engaged in the business of certification.

Any Indian company publishing Indian edition of foreign magazines in India shall be subject to all the relevant laws and guidelines applicable to Indian news magazines and their publishers.

The applicant entity shall make full disclosure, at the time of application, of the Licence Agreement/ Financial Arrangement with the foreign entity for publishing such Indian editions. Any subsequent change, shall be disclosed to the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting within fifteen days of such a change.

The applicant company shall inform the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting within 15 days of effecting any changes in the composition of resident Indian Directors or key executives and editorial staff. Such a change would be subject to post facto approval of the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting.

The applicant company shall be liable to intimate the names and details of any foreigners/NRIs/PIOs proposed to be employed/engaged in the Entity for more than 60 days in a year, either as Consultant or as regular employees or in any other capacity. The Entity shall be liable to dispense with the services of such persons if subsequently not found security cleared.

The applicant company shall obtain prior clearance from the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting of all persons not being resident Indians who are proposed to be inducted in the Board of Directors/Key Executives/Editorial Staff of the company.

The applicant company shall permit the Government agencies to inspect the facilities required for publishing Indian edition of foreign magazine, as and when required.

The Government of India, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting shall have the right to suspend/ withdraw/ cancel the permission of the company for a specified period or for whole time, if the conditions specified in the grant of permission is violated or in public interest or in the interest of national security. The company shall immediately comply with the directives issued in this regard.

The company shall stop publication of the Indian edition of the magazine whenever approval for such publication is suspended/withdrawn/ cancelled by the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting.

The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting shall have the right to amend these Guidelines, as and when necessary. Procedure for Application (i) Eleven copies of the prescribed application form, duly filled in, along with the requisite documents shall be submitted to the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting.

Application fee of Rs.20,000/- will have to be deposited through demand draft made in favour of Pay & Accounts Officer, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, payable at New Delhi.

In case the original foreign magazine is in a language other than English/Hindi, the certified/ authenticated English transcripts of the magazine, one issue each for the last five years alongwith the original copy may be provided with the application. Certification/ authentication shall be done by the publisher of the original foreign magazine.

All new applications for publication of Indian editions of foreign magazines dealing in news and current affairs sector, shall be processed and decided in the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting on the basis of inter-ministerial consultation with the Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of External Affairs, Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion, Ministry of Corporate Affairs and other Ministries/Departments, as may be required.

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