Saturday, March 24, 2012

Ambani 'virtually' owns 27 TV channels in India: Are you worried about Indian media now?

If Mukesh Ambani's RIL has majority stake in 27 TV channels in India, does that worry you about the state of electronic media in the country?

Worrying part comes later. First question is that did you have any idea about that. Secondly, can you figure out the amount of influence on Indian journalism, this can have?

Forget thinking about stories or such news reports that may hurt this huge business empire, just think of the impart of the sort of monopoly on media and its implications in future.

Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) recently bought shares in Infotel, a TV consortium that controls 27 TV news and entertainment channels in almost every regional language.

This single sentence buried in a paragraph in Arundhati Roy's article, tells you a lot. Yes, Outlook can still publish her. Tehelka may do it as well and of course, the foreign publication Guardian. But where else you are going to read such a report? Mukesh's monstrous sky-scraper Antilla or his stakes in oil, gas, petrochemicals, telecom are all too well-known.

But in a country where free media has kept the democracy afloat, the monopoly over media is something that we should seriously ponder over. Media h as the power to make or break an agitation. It has the strength to bring a government on its knees and make it fall as well.

Didn't we see in the Anna Hazare agitation. Mukesh Ambani has taken his father Dhirubhai Ambani's business forward. Sorry, we are not jealous of him. Mukesh's prosperity and growth in business empire show the robustness of Indian economy and its global march.

As patriotic citizens, we do love Indian businessmen acquiring groups abroad, inking huge financial deals, their clout and influence increasing. But there is a difference when it comes to monopoly. In any sector, it is important. More critical when it comes to media.

Even if you don't love Arundhati, you must understand that it is she who can say it and it still gets published. But yes, if he has stake in 27 channels, it does worry me as a media man. And he virtually owns it as the Outlook article says.

It may or may not worry you. But probably you should know it. I hope you got it, readers.

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