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IHT Case: Govt may tighten print laws

09-June-2004
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IHT Case: Govt may tighten print laws

If uplinking of Rupert Murdoch’s Star News forced the government to change its television rulebook last year, the recent controversy over reprinting of International Herald Tribune (IHT) may lead to a new set of laws for the print media. At present, the government’s focus is on “enforcement”, as the current guidelines have no provision for penalising the dafaulters.

So, the government is weighing options to strengthen its media laws. Amendments are not ruled out, an official in the information and broadcasting ministry indicated, without getting into details. Ministry officials had lengthy meetings on Tuesday to plan the future cour-se of action. However, “there’s no clarity yet,” on new laws.

As of now, reprinting of foreign newspapers is not allowed in India, as per the Cabinet Resolution of 1955. Also, the syndication guidelines limit the use of foreign matter to 7.5 per cent of the total newspaper content.

The government filed a caveat on Tuesday, in case Hyderabad-based Midram Publications seeks a court stay against the government move to stop publication of IHT.

Meanwhile, Midram Publications, which is printing IHT in the country, has asked the government to drop the case being made against publication of the newspaper, reports PTI. IHT India editor MJ Akbar told a news agency that he would take recourse to courts in case the Centre persisted with the issue. When foreign journals are sold freely in India, what’s wrong if IHT is published in the country, Mr Akbar asked.

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