Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting Ambika Soni has praised the media for its capacity for ‘self-correction’ despite some recent media malpractices that came to light. She also lauded the “fantastic growth” seen by Indian media despite the global financial slowdown.
Soni was speaking at the inauguration of the first Rotogravure printing installation in India, the result of a joint venture between HT Media Ltd and Burda Druck GmbH, Germany.
Commenting on the growing newspaper industry in the country, Soni noted that there were 350 million people who consumed print media in India. “Because of education policies of the Government of India over the years, 250 million are ready to read newspapers. That is the reason that despite the global slowdown in 2008-08, the Indian print media had grown.”
Speaking on the Government’s advertisement policies and criticism by the media on the low ad rates, Soni noted, “There are 133 million people who read the national language; there are many other regional languages and a high readership of English dailies in the country. The job of my Ministry is to give under-paid, under-valued advertisements to them. However, the challenge for the Ministry is to create a level playing field for the all small, medium and big newspapers, which is a difficult exercise.”
Meanwhile, Soni welcomed the joint venture between the HT Media Ltd and Burda Druck Gmbh for bringing high technology printing systems in India. “In coming days, many such tie-ups will take place in India and the Government has become a facilitator for this rather than a partner,” she added.
The other eminent people present at the inauguration included Hubert Burda, Publisher and General Partner of Hubert Burda Media, Germany; Shobhana Bhartia, Chairperson, HT Media Ltd; and Rajiv Verma, CEO, HT Media.