TRAI seeks comments on media ownership

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The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has come out with a consultation paper that invites the views of stakeholders on the need, nature, and levels of safeguards for issues relating to media ownership, particularly cross-media ownership and vertical integration in the broadcasting sector.

It reasons that for audiences to get diverse views in a democracy, the ownership of multiple media businesses by a few persons or entities would be undesirable. The current deadline for comments and counter-comments are 7 June and 21 June.

Notably, the regulator sought comments on whether cross-media ownership should be monitored, and whether existing mechanisms were sufficient given that the sector has rapidly expanded in the digital age. The TRAI wants to define criteria to measure ownership and control. The former implies a pure economic interest while the latter means an ability to influence decisions at the media organisation.