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Concern over lack of dialogue between press and Govt

Posted on Dec 08, 12:00PM | UNI

Expressing concern over lack of dialogue between media and the Government, Secretary (Information and Broadcasting) Uday Kumar Varma today said that there should be a healthy relationship between them.

"A love-hate relationship prevails between the press and the Government and sometimes it becomes strained. In a democracy, there should be cordial relations between the two," he said while addressing a meet-the-press programme here.

Terming compulsory digitalisation of cable television operations as a silent revolution, Mr Varma said that it helped bring transparency in the system. In the first phase the metropolitan cities were completed while digitalisation of other major cities is underway and the scheme would be completed by 2014.

Licenses were provided to 295 Frequency Modulation (FM) radio stations in the first and second phases while in the third phase licenses would be provided to 839 FM stations in 293 towns. A museum of Indian cinema would be set up at Gulshan Mahal in Mumbai by March.

About the impact of foreign direct investment on electronic and print media, Mr Varma said, "At present, permission has been granted for 26 per cent FDI in print and electronic media and no further changes would be made now." However, in FM radio, the percentage was enhanced from 20 to 26 per cent while cent per cent FDI was allowed in entertainment media.

"There are 70,000 newspapers and magazines in the country and it is unnecessary to increase FDI in print media. We are not considering bringing Indian news agencies under FDI," he said.

To a query about barring advertisements to newspapers that have not implemented the Majithia Wage Board's recommendations, Mr Varma said that the Government has no such plan as it provides advertisements to all newspapers to inform about schemes.

About the arrest of two journalists of a certain television news channel for alleged bribery, he said, "It is legal matter and the Court will decide." Regarding misuse of social media, Mr Varma said that the authorities should settle it themselves but there must not be any interference in freedom of expression.