Shivraj Patil to head GoM on print media issues

New Delhi | Updated: Oct 29 2004, 05:30am hrs
The government has set up a group of ministers (GoM) to look into issues related to the print media. Information and broadcasting (I&B) minister S Jaipal Reddy confirmed the development on the sidelines of the Saarc editors conference here on Thursday. The GoM, to be headed by home minister Shivraj Patil, would include finance minister S Chidambaram, information and broadcasting minister S Jaipal Reddy, communications minister Dayanidhi Maran, law minister HR Bharadwaj and science & technology minister Kapil Sibal.

On other pending issues in the media sector such as norms for the second phase of private FM radio and implementation of conditional access system (CAS), Mr Reddy said decisions would be taken soon. However, the minister declined to comment further on broadcasting issues, including allowing foreign institutional investors (FIIs) funds in news channels and clearing the direct-to-home (DTH) application of Tata-Star joint venture.

Even as the Cabinet had taken a decision last month to set up a GoM to review print media norms, there was a delay in constituting the group.

The ministries, which are part of the GoM, would prepare the working papers soon on the issue.

The Cabinet decided to set up a GoM to take a comprehensive look at the print media policy and the violations that may have occurred, in the past. Last month, the information and broadcasting I&B ministry suggested amendments to the Press and Registration of Books (PRB) Act, 1867, to strengthen print media norms, after International Herald Tribune (IHT) started printing from India. As per print media guidelines, foreign publications are not allowed to print/publish from India.

Among the issues the GoM is likely to examine are printing of foreign publications from India, foreign investment cap in news and current affairs, norms for speciality journals.