9th June 2018
Modi is bulldozing Indian media through regulatory controls
The massive photoshopping and fake news coming out of BJP IT cell is well known. The recent Cobra Post expose was shocking enough. Fake news, bribery. I’ve covered all these on my blog.
But things have go to the point where senior journalists are being effectively threatened by the SENIOR-MOST levels of government. And licensing is being used as a tool to block dissent:
Bringing up the difficulty in getting licences for new television channels, Dutt pointed out how Republic TV was the only station to obtain one in period of just three months whereas entrepreneurs like Raghav Behl have been waiting for a year and a half. … Claiming that she, along with journalists like Rajdeep Sardesai and Karan Thapar, had not been “neither forgiven not forgotten” for covering the 2002 riots in Gujarat, Dutt said that while print and digital media had people fighting for it, no industry member has fought for removing the welter of clearances required from the government in the television news segment.[Source]
As one can see, Barkha’s point is largely related to TV channel licensing. TV channels in India are licenced by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India:
NEWS ABOUT BARKHA DUTT’S EXPERIENCE
I’ve uploaded short extracts on my Youtube channel:
The key method appears to me the “licensing” of journalism channels.
This is a totally dangerous idea. I have objected earlier as well to this approach in India. Why is the press letting itself be gagged by the government? [See my PPTX here]
In 2016 I wrote against the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act of 1995
NOTES FOR A PRESS RELEASE BY SBP
Swarna Bharat Party, India’s only liberal party, has reviewed the comments of Barkha Dutt and condemns the intimidation of the media by the current dispensation through regulatory controls.
SBP is committed to absolute freedom of the press and rejects the idea that government can license media. The government is a servant of the people, not its master. The press is the eyes and ears of the people. It cannot be gagged in a free democracy.
Today India has the shame of ranking 136th in the press freedom index. This is almost entirely due to the incentives and corruption created by India’s socialist model.
Our party wants a totally independent press, where there is no possibility of intimidation by government (or anyone).
Btw, here’s an idiotic comment from Katju: “Mr Katju recently wrote for The Hindu newspaper: “If red lines can be drawn for the legal and medical professions, why should it be any different for profit-making newspapers and TV channels?” [Source]
More importantly, there are significant restrictions on FDI in the media:
100 per cent FDI is now allowed in almost every major TV distribution form (direct-to-home, cable, headend-in-the-sky, multi-system operators) and 49 per cent in TV news. Even radio got a little prize with a raise in the FDI ceiling. …. It is one thing to increase investment. But it would be nice if there is more work on ease of doing business,” says Sudhanshu Vats, group CEO, Viacom18 Media.[Source]