In a surprise reshuffle of ministries, Jaipal Reddy has been shifted out of the Information and Broadcasting Ministry to the Urban Development Ministry. Priyaranjan Dasmunshi has been appointed as the new I&B Minister.
A self-confessed liberal, Reddy's tenure saw many major reforms like allowing foreign newspapers to have facsimile editions, Phase II expansion of FM radio and foreign investment reforms in various media sectors.
However, the more recent policies changes in uplinking and downlinking have created some bad vibes across the media space. Industry observers, however, downplayed his contribution saying they were only technical changes pending from the previous governments and that his contribution was insignificant.
Reddy himself seems to be quite unaware of the development, as at the Economic Editors Conference on November 17, he spoke at length about the task at hand of his ministry. In fact, just yesterday the I&B Ministry had notified granting permission of up to 20 per cent foreign investment in FM radio, including FDI, FII, NRI and PIO investments.
Meanwhile, observers feel that Dasmunshi's political stature has gone up and that the new position is a reflection of that. Interestingly, Dasmunshi, who is president of the All India Football Federation (AIFF), while signing a 10-year contract with Zee Sports last month, said that personally he was not in favour of the content sharing agreement of sports channels with the public broadcaster Prasar Bharti.
Now, with his new role and feet in the same shoes, it remains to be seen whether he will be able to effect changes in the already set content sharing policies.