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TRAI to examine cross media ownership

Cross media ownership is to be scrutinized by the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) following a request by the Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Ministry.

"Major players are looking for expanding their business interests in various segments of print and broadcasting sectors. In this scenario, issue of media ownership and the need for cross media restrictions assumes great significance," Uday Varma, I&B ministry secretary reportedly wrote in a letter to new TRAI chairman Rahul Khullar on 16 May.

Currently those companies with business interests in TV, radio and print have horizontal integration, which Varma has asked to be looked into.

Vertical cross ownership is also to be examined, where TV channel owners have branched out into distribution platforms, such as cable TV, direct to home (DTH) and Internet protocol television (IPTV) – or vice versa.

PTI sources suggest the Information and Broadcasting Ministry believes measures may be required to ensure fair growth in the country's broadcasting sector. Any government guidelines on media ownership would be based on the regulator's recommendations.

TRAI last looked into the issue of cross media ownership in 2009.

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