The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has recently come up with suggestions for policing the ownership and stake holding of media in the wake of political and non-media corporate bigwigs interfering in the media sector.
The move comes after the Information & Broadcasting Ministry asked the telecom Regulator to submit recommendations to control the entry of such parties into the media houses. The TRAI recommendations have already sparked controversies and if the report, “Issues Related to Media Ownership”, released by TRAI earlier this week is accepted by the government, no political party or corporate could own a media house.
Majority of the suggestions submitted by TRAI is acceptable especially in a context where the reliability of media is at stake. The curbs on the corporate ownership is intended to prevent the intervention, monopoly and the undesirable influences on the media houses by the corporate giants and politicians who use the media for personal advantages as well propagating news that favour their interest. The malady of “paid news” should be uprooted and the confidential treaties for buying shares in exchange for advertisements should be halted. The recommendations also say that no single political party could have the regulatory authority over both the print media and TV channel. Another controversial suggestion put forward by TRAI was barring religious organizations and political parties from owning media houses. It’s true that narrow and conservative minded parties would drain out life from the sector that is supposed to be backing democratic views and voicing people’s concerns for their betterment. But generalizing all of them in this regard would be unfair.
TRAI recommendations may be intended to make right the wrong in the case of media ownership. TRAI Chairman, Rahul Khullar had said while releasing the report that media ownership was a matter of huge concern since the news conveyed across as truth by the media owned by corporate, religious and political parties may be its tinted version or false. But the fact that the media house owned by people as suggested by TRAI, excluding the politicians and corporates, would hold onto honesty and righteousness, is equally absurd. Lots of corporate money has been flowing in to support the media houses and banning them and other religious and political interests who provide financial support would only put the media houses more into trouble. Curbing the unfair practices along with implementing regulations for the media ownership that would benefit the media houses financially for their smooth functioning is what is essential at present.