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Murdoch wants govt to speed up DTH okay

24-March-2005
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Murdoch wants govt to speed up DTH okay

News Corp executive chairman Rupert Murdoch today made a strong case for a faster clearance of Space TV, the direct-to-home (DTH) broadcasting joint venture between Tata Sons and the Murdoch-controlled Network Digital, during his meeting with information and broadcasting minister Jaipal Reddy.

The government, however, said that it was examining the proposal and a decision would be taken only after consultations with other ministries.

“We are waiting for clearance from the government,” Murdoch said after a one-hour meeting with Reddy.

The information and broadcasting minister said, “There are certain issues where we wanted the opinion of the ministry of company affairs and any decision on this can be taken only after that.”

According to Reddy, the same has been communicated to Murdoch as well. A faster clearance of the company’s proposal to start the DTH service has become really necessary for Space TV as it has already lost the first-mover advantage to the Subhash Chandra-promoted Dish TV.

Government sources also said that it has received an application from the Maran-controlled Sun TV to start a DTH venture. Sun’s DTH venture will be through a separate company called Sun DirectTV. It is a 100 per cent Indian-owned company.

“The government will give the clearance if it feels that everything is fine with the application. We are continuing our discussions with the company,” Reddy said.

Like in the case of his previous meetings, Murdoch also raised the issue of further freeing up the media sector and allowing a higher foreign investment cap in various sectors.

India assumes importance in the scheme of affairs of Murdoch as it is one of the key markets driving the company in Asia.

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