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Foreign newspapers may have local arms

14-May-2005
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Foreign newspapers may have local arms

Foreign newspaper firms may set up fully owned subsidiaries in the country.

Foreign newspaper companies wanting to print their international editions in India will be allowed to set up fully owned subsidiaries in the country.

According to senior government functionaries, this has been proposed by the group of ministers (GoM) on the print media to the Union Cabinet. However, the foreign papers wanting to print in the country will have to take prior permission from the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB).

Moreover, the newspaper titles will have to be registered with the Registrar of Newspapers of India (RNI) before these can be brought out in the country.

Foreign newspapers wanting to print their international editions will also have to set up a registered office in India. “This will be a regulatory requirement as such an office will be the point of contact for the government,” said the official.

The GoM is also expected to recommend that the Indian editions of the international newspapers should not have content and advertisement generated in the country.

The move by the government to set up the GoM in September 2004 was prompted by the printing of the International Herald Tribune in India by the Hyderabad-based Midram Publications by registering the newspaper as an Indian publication. If the GoM proposal is accepted by the Cabinet, it will legitimises the printing of the International Herald Tribune in India.

Sources also said the GoM considered amendments to certain sections of the Press and Registration of Books (PRB) Act, 1867, and also took note of the resolution adopted by the Cabinet in 1955, which did not permit publication of foreign magazines and newspapers in India. The decision to allow FDI in the print media was taken by the Vajpayee government in 2002.

Subsequent to which, two investments in Indian newspapers, 17 Indian editions of foreign non-news and non–current affairs magazines and 13 foreign investments by international publications in various Indian non-news and non-current affairs publications were cleared by the government.

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