Centre asks digital media to comply with 26% FDI within a month
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Centre asks digital media to comply with 26% FDI within a month

The Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has issued a public notice, asking news aggregators and agencies that supply news and current affairs to websites, to comply with an earlier order in which the Centre had capped foreign direct investment (FDI) at 26 per cent.

The notification asks “eligible entities involved in uploading/streaming of news and current affairs through digital media, to comply with the decision of the Union Government on 18th September 2019, which had permitted 26% FDI under government approval route.”

The ministry has asked eligible agencies to comply with the order within a month.

Announcing the FDI quota in an earlier order issued in October, the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade had asked entities uploading or streaming digital news and current affairs to comply within a year from the date of issue of the clarification.

The FDI quota for digital media was decided by the Union Cabinet last August. The Centre had come up with the clarification in October after a few industry players raised questions on the capping amount.

“After due consultations, it is clarified (that) the decision of permitting 26 per cent FDI through government route would apply” to certain “categories of Indian entities, registered or located in India,” the government order had said.

The categories where the capping would apply are: entities uploading/ streaming news and current affairs on websites, apps, other platforms; news agencies which gathers, writes and distributes/transmits news, directly or indirectly, to digital media entities and/ or news aggregators; news aggregators which, using software/ web applications, aggregates news content from various sources, such as news websites, blogs, podcasts, video blogs, in one location.

The I&B Ministry last week brought OTT platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney Hotstar as well as online news and current affairs content under its radar. Under the new order, the ministry will now have the power to regulate policies related to news and audio and visual content both on news websites and OTT platforms.

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