New Delhi: The sharp limits on foreign direct investment (FDI) in Indian news media has always been a controversial issue. Back in 2002, India did relax its stringent laws to allow 100% FDI in non-news media but imposed a 26% cap on such investment in news ventures. Until now, it has been widely assumed that it is the Indian government that is unwilling to relax FDI norms in news businesses despite media owners wanting more foreign investors and the likes of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, the broadcast regulator, recommending that the FDI limit in news channels be raised to 49%. But, on her last day as India’s information and broadcasting secretary, Asha Swarup told Mint (www.livemint.com/swarup) that the government is not likely to raise the ceiling on FDI in news media because “there has been no real demand from the industry to raise the FDI cap in the sector”, adding: “We have all along said that we will be happy to take any step to facilitate the growth of the industry but the industry hasn’t demanded it.”
So, Mint decided to find out what exactly is the position of India’s media barons and some editor-owners on FDI caps in the news media, as well as highlight any news relationships they have had with foreign media companies this decade. And, here is what heads of 12 major media companies had to say—one way or the other—and, in some cases, didn’t want to say.