In order to explore the possibility of reviewing the norms for media ownership, cross-media restrictions and vertical integration of media companies, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) today initiated a consultation paper, inviting comments from the stakeholders.
This exercise has been initiated at the behest of Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B), which had sought Trai’s opinion after seeing the growing trend of print media companies entering the broadcasting sector and several broadcasters branching out into distribution of channels, radio and IPTV business among others, Trai said.
In the paper, Trai has sought comments from the stakeholders concerned on several key issues like the definition of markets for media companies, extent of restrictions that can be imposed on print, radio and television media to ensure plurality, examination of current restrictions for vertical integration in the television segment, limits on FM radio licences and similar limitations for other sectors, and possible ownership restrictions on media and telecom firms expanding into the territory of one another.
Currently, there are no cross-media ownership restrictions for the domestic print media companies and they can expand into other media verticals, Trai said. The last date of submission of comments is before October 24.
Meanwhile, Trai has sought a clarification from the DoT on its plans to levy an additional 1 per cent adjusted gross revenues (AGR) from 3G licensees.