GoM To Study Policy On Print Media Our Political Bureau

New Delhi, Sept 29 | Updated: Sep 30 2004, 05:30am hrs
The Cabinet has decided to set up a group of ministers (GoM) to study not only the violations but also the policy paradigm of the print media in view of the emerging scenario and the decisions taken by the previous government in 2002.

The Cabinet, at its meeting chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday, decided to undertake a comprehensive review of the print media sector, information and broadcasting minister S Jaipal Reddy told mediapersons.

Responding to a query, the minister said that the GoM would be constituted by the Prime Minister to consider amendments in Press Registration Act for allowing government to screen newspaper titles before they were cleared by the Registrar of Newspapers of India (RNI).

He said that the Cabinet considered amendments to certain sections of the Press and Registration of Books Act (PRB), 1867, and also took note of the resolution adopted by it in 1955 by the Nehru government which did not want publication of foreign magazines and newspapers in India.

The Cabinet also took note of the decisions of the then government in 2002 to permit 26% foreign direct investment (FDI) in publications, periodicals and newspapers dealing with news and current affairs, he said.

Mr Reddy said that the NDA government had also decided to permit 74% FDI in technical and scientific journals and speciality magazines. It had also decided not to allow syndication of content beyond 7.5%.

To a specific query whether the foreign news agencies would still have to be routed through the Indian news agencies, the minister said, the entire gamut of issues would be looked into by the GoM.

The Cabinet meeting was followed by the meeting of Cabinet committee on economic affairs (CCEA), during which the government approved a Rs 1771.93 crore transmission system for the 1,000 mw Kahalgaon Stage II project in Bihar.

The cost of the 1462 km transmission project includes interest during construction of Rs 86.18 crore.

The CCEA deferred a decision on setting up of an investment commission due to absence of some of the key ministers.

The decision on investment commission has been deferred as three-four ministers could not attend the CCEA today, finance minister P Chidambaram said, adding it would be taken up at the next meeting.