TRAI suggests hiking FDI in news channels to 49%

Written by Agencies | New Delhi, April 26: | Updated: Apr 26 2008, 22:06pm hrs
In a move that, if implemented, would further liberalise the sector, broadcast regulator TRAI recommended raising the foreign investment limit in news channels and FM radio to 49 per cent.

"The Authority recommends that the foreign investment limit for news and current affairs channels in the uplinking guidelines may be increased from 26 per cent to 49 per cent," the regulator said in its recommendations on foreign investment limit for the broadcasting sector.

TRAI has, however, maintained status quo in case of uplinking of non-news TV channels and downlinking of TV channels at 100 per cent foreign investment limit.

The regulator said any change in the foreign investment limit for TV broadcasters would necessitate revisiting the recommendation of the authority on such cap for FM radio for the sake of consistency.

The current limit of foreign investment is 20 per cent in FM radio services.

The comments of stakeholders indicate that while most of the news broadcasters want the existing cap of 26 per cent on foreign equity holding, including FDI, FII and NRI investments, for news and current affairs TV channels be raised to 49 per cent, a few news broadcasters want the existing limit to be retained, TRAI said.

As per the regulator, those which wanted the existing limit of 26 per cent to continue, said this is a sensitive sector involving national security and image, so status quo should be maintained and should be capped at 26 per cent.

The better way to ensure that subversive content is not broadcast through TV channels is by having proper content monitoring and regulation through content code, instead of using foreign investment limits as the tool for this purpose, TRAI said.