Trai wants up to 49% FDI in news channels

New Delhi, Apr 26 | Updated: Apr 27 2008, 07:13am hrs
In a move that, if implemented, would further liberalise the sector, broadcast regulator Trai on Saturday recommended raising the foreign investment limit in news channels and FM radio to 49%.

The authority recommends that the foreign investment limit for news and current affairs channels in the uplinking guidelines may be increased from 26% to 49%,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% 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% in FM radio services.

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

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, Trai said.