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Majority stake in news media should be with Indian companies: Punit Goenka

NEW DELHI: While several news broadcasters want the government to hike foreign direct investment (FDI) in news media, the top boss of India’s leading media company has opined that majority stake of news firms should remain with Indian companies.

PG on FDIZee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (ZEEL) MD and CEO Punit Goenka expressed these views via his Twitter handle. He also said that editor/CEO of the company should also be Indian.

Incidentally, Goenka is also managing director of Zee Media Corporation Ltd (ZMCL), the company which houses all the news channels of the group.

“On the government’s move towards 100 per cent FDI in news media—majority stake should be with Indian companies and editor/CEO should also be an Indian!”, Goenka wrote on the microblogging site.

At present, only 26 per cent FDI is allowed in news and current affairs channels. Other guidelines for news media include—the largest Indian shareholder should hold at least 51 per cent of the total equity; requirement to employ resident Indians in key positions (CEO of the applicant company, three-fourths of the directors on the board of directors, all key executives and editorial staff); and reporting requirements when any person who is not a resident Indian is employed/ engaged, etc.

Earlier last month, I&B Minister Prakash Javadekar had said that his ministry was seeking stakeholders’ views on whether to allow 100 per cent FDI in news media. While he had said that the ministry was in no hurry, he did mention that the Centre was busy collecting views in connection with the FDI issue.