Sunday, November 27, 2022

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TRAI to come up with new media ownership regulations

Telecom Regulatory Authority of India: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai), which oversees both the telecom and broadcast industries in the nation, is putting final touches on a fresh set of recommendations regarding media ownership, according to its chairman P D Vaghela on Wednesday.

Speaking at the CII Big Picture Summit in New Delhi, Vaghela said the rules were intended to address concerns about media ownership concentration and the threat it presented to the right to free speech.

By the way, the Trai had published a consultation document in April of this year to talk about media ownership problems.

“The concentration of media ownership has been identified with a number of problems. The most significant of these is the threat it poses to freedom of expression and democracy,” Vaghela said.

His comments come as the Adani group and the New Delhi Television promoters are engaged in a takeover conflict in the domestic media sector (NDTV). SEBI has approved the Adani group’s open offer for additional NDTV shares that will take place next week after the group announced ambitions to buy a 29.18% interest in the business in August.

Additionally, this would be TRAI’s second time in eight years to make recommendations about media ownership. The regulator had most recently released a set of rules regarding media ownership in 2014, but the government did not abide by them. Then, among the suggestions offered were limitations on political parties’ access to the broadcasting medium. The regulator has also proposed a number of limitations on business entities’ ability to invest in the area.

The TRAI chairman also mentioned the difficulties the television broadcast industry was experiencing as a result of the New Tariff Order 2.0 (NTO 2.0), which reduced the price of standalone channels from Rs 19 to Rs 12, as well as added new restrictions on channel bundling and distribution. NTO 2.0 implementation, which was supposed to start this month, has been postponed until February 2023.

The regulator has also noted problems with network capacity fees, multi-TV discounts, and the division of revenue share among different companies.

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