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Cabinet may decide on FDI in print media today

24-April-2002
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Cabinet may decide on FDI in print media today

Vinod Behl

The government is expected to take a final decision on the controversial issue of FDI in print media at the Cabinet meeting scheduled for today.

The Cabinet will mull over a crucial note prepared for this meeting. The Cabinet note opposes lifting of ban on FDI in news and current affairs. It however favours upto 74 per cent FDI in technical, scientific, research and literary journals.

The note has been prepared in the backdrop of the final report on FDI in print media tabled by Parliamentary Panel on Information Technology in Parliament on March 22.

The report submitted by the 45 member panel headed by veteran CPI MP, Somnath Chatterjee, said that it was not in favour of allowing the foreign newspapers and periodicals dealing with news and current affairs to bring out either Indian editions or foreign shareholdings in any form in the Indian print media sector.

The report kicked up a controversy with several dissenting MPs alleging that their views were censured.

The Parliamentary Committee had considered two reports with diverse recommendations. While one report outrightly rejected foreign equity in print media, the other favoured 26 per cent FDI with the condition that editorial and management control would rest with the Indian partners.

Several committee members feel that the Cabinet might defer the decision on this issue particularly as the Vajpayee government faces fresh threat to its existence with a debate on Gujarat under rule 184 in Parliament.

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