CHURUMURI POLL: No to cross-media ownership?

It’s an issue that has been discussed and dismissed in the United States and other countries, but as India stands at the cusp of a media explosion, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has fired a fresh salvo against cross-media ownership. “Newspaper owners should not be allowed to start TV channels and vice-versa,” CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat has said. In 2004, his party had said more or less the same thing in the run-up to the general elections.

The opposition stems from a desire to prevent the creation and growth of monopolies. Cross-media ownership, they fear, could be used by proprietors and editors to “brainwash” the reading/viewing masses, by pushing a line in alignment with their business, political or ideological interests. And by shutting out other points of view or by not giving room for competitors who could air other points of view through the use of unlawful and unethical business practices.

Questions: Is the CPI(M) barking up the wrong tree, or is it right? Is there a danger if a company owns a television station, a radio station, and several newspapers in the same market? Is the CPI(M) reacting too late, after the monopolies are already in operation, or is it just making the usual electoral noises? Should there be regulation to ensure a multiplicity of news and views? Or should it be left to the “market forces”?

Also read: Organiser on cross-media ownership

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5 Responses to “CHURUMURI POLL: No to cross-media ownership?”

  1. Yella Ok Says:

    I think it is difficult and stifling and unfair – something like this. I would rather have a bar on media companies investing in other companies that they give coverage – especially without disclosing in EVERY article about that investee company that the media comes out with.

  2. Pramod Biligiri Says:

    I think the fear of media monopolies is unwarranted. Media is a slave to advertisers. They only publish what gets the most eye balls. That being so, all commercial media tends to become uniform and cater to the lowest common denominator over time.

    It’s a myth that media shapes people’s opinions, esp. in India. I give the average Indian more credit than that :)

    In a growing media market like India, any kind of govt. regulation is needless and likely to misfire. Moreover, it will lead to terrible lobbying to write laws favouring special interests. Do we want that?

    I think stopping a person/company from starting a new venture espousing their views is a curb on basic freedom of expression. I can never ever support that.

  3. Aruna Urs Says:

    Ahem….No cross ownership for NDTV?

  4. lamphrang Says:

    I dont see any reason to curb the freedom of the press, but what is mindful of is the political maneavering which dictates the freedom of the press.

  5. Blogtrotter Says:

    Ndtv+Kingfisher=Good Times (is nothing but surrogate advertising.)
    Any business related to news seems to be minting money in India. Hence Cross- media ownership cannot be ignored?

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