Govt to take final view on foreign news agencies soon; forms panel

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New Delhi, Mar 4 (UNI) In view of the increasing pressure to allow foreign news agencies operate independently in the country, the Government has decided to form a committee of stakeholders to take a final view on the matter.

Under the present arrangements, effected through a Cabinet decision of 1956, news of foreign agencies like Reuters, AP, AFP, DPA and others are channelised in India through agencies like UNI and PTI.

''The Ministry of Information and Braoadcasting has asked UNI, PTI, IANS and other stakeholders to choose their representative for the committee which will go into all the pros and cons of allowing foreign players distribute news independently in the country, '' a senior official told UNI.

Besides the news agencies, the committee will have representatives from other organisations.

There are contending views on the desirability of allowing the free operation of foreign news agencies. Some argue that allowing independent entry would not be in the interest of the country as some of the news which might not be desirable from the Indian perspective would be released unedited, while others argue that the constraints on foreign players to operate only through Indian news agencies had become irrelevant in today's era of cyber revolution.

The Cabinet in its 1956 decision said ''communication facilities should be granted to foreign news agencies only where distribution of news within the country is to be effected through an Indian news agency owned and managed by Indians, which would have full and final authority in the selection of foreign news for distribution and which would also be in a position to supply Indian news in a reasonable volume to the foreign news agencies with which it has a working arrangement.'' The Ministry official said the committee would go deeply into all these matters and come out with a view which would be put to public debate.


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