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Home Ministry Opposes Any Hike Of FDI Cap In Media

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The Home Ministry has strongly opposed any move to increase the FDI cap in the broadcasting and print media, saying allowing more foreign investment in the sensitive sectors may compromise country's security.

Apprehending undue influence by big global players, the Home Ministry said opening up of current affairs TV channels, newspapers and periodicals dealing with news and current affairs may lead to meddling in India's domestic affairs and politics, official sources said.

Strongly favouring control of media houses by Indians, the Ministry said increase of FDI in broadcasting and print media may also allow foreign players to launch propaganda campaign during any national crisis as well as when interests of any particular country is harmed through any government decision.

Currently, the sectoral cap for FDI in FM radio, uplinking news and current affairs TV channels and in print media is 26 per cent and the Commerce Ministry has proposed to raise it to 49 per cent through the automatic route.

The Home Ministry also said that big foreign media players with vested interests may try to fuel fire during internal or external disturbances and also can encourage political instability in the country through their publications or broadcasting outlets, the sources said.

Following Home Ministry's strong objections, a high-level meeting chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on 16 July did not clear the Commerce Ministry's proposal for increasing FDI in broadcasting and print media to 49 per cent through automatic route, the sources said.

Taking cue from the Home Ministry's strong objection to hike FDI in broadcasting and print media, the Information and Broadcasting Ministry too has sought advice from Trai and Press Council of India on the matter.