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Friday, 16 February, 2001, 12:50 GMT
Should the foreign media be feared or welcomed?

In India, proposals to allow foreign media companies to start business ventures in the country have been forcefully opposed by many in the industry.

There are concerns that foreign companies could end up dominating domestic media markets, crowding out local publications and broadcasters.

What benefits would an expansion of the media market bring? Would the introduction of foreign media provide more jobs and better salaries?

Or would its cultural influence harm South Asian communities?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.

Your reaction

The Indian media is the strongest critic of the Government and is much freer than the likes of CNN and ABC

AJ Neogi, USA
The Indian media is the strongest critic of the Government and is much freer than the likes of CNN and ABC. US media companies always put an angle on stories consistent with the US Government's foreign policy. They have portrayed India as a barbaric pseudo communist country until US-India relations improved when India magically became the new darling of the American media. I have no objection in principle of having foreign media, but they always have a hidden agenda, i.e. they operate as a branch of their government and are not free to report the truth even if they wish to.
AJ Neogi, USA

The foreign TV channels are already here, preventing the print media is meaningless. Also we can expect unbiased and in-depth coverage of fields like legal, education and scientific research etc which are neglected by the Indian print media which is also considerably politicised.
K.S. Bala, India

I don't think there is any need to allow foreign media to operate within India. Indian newspapers as well as television and radio channels have, no doubt, proved their worth and can definitely be compared with the best in the world.
Robin Joseph, India

The media has a higher purpose apart from wealth creation for a few

Srinivas Rangaraj, Canada
I have no objection to it except for the concern that these media empires will probably care about little else other than making money. I do believe, in all my naivete, that the media has a higher purpose apart from wealth creation for a few.
Srinivas Rangaraj, Canada

I think India is doing very well in this area and foreign investment will only hinder growth and take most of the jobs outside the country. Furthermore, the Western media is more of a platform for advertisement and the amount of waste generated, especially in the print media, is huge. I do not think India really needs this. For a foreign perspective one only needs to log on to the internet and this is open and well developed in the country.
Prem, USA

A foreign media presence would certainly teach the indigenous media the standards expected in professional reporting. This is something that India badly needs. The danger is that such a presence will forge its own agenda. You only have to look at the US media to see how standards have slipped with creeping commercialisation.
Bilal Patel, London, UK

This will definitely increase employment opportunities in the media sector

Murali Krishna, USA
We have enough English newspapers in India that can beat world-class news magazines in disseminating day-to-day information. The introduction of foreign media, therefore, should not just increase the flavour of English news magazines but should get down to publishing in local languages. This would increase competition and may improve the quality of current publications. Obviously foreign journalists cannot understand the different Indian languages so they will have to recruit Indian journalists or at least translators. This will definitely increase employment opportunities in the media sector.
Murali Krishna, USA

Why not? Like any media company they will establish their credibility based on balanced and honest reporting. The BBC is a good case in point. I think, we Indians, should understand that media is like a business enterprise: the more the better. We should also have faith in the masses; they are smarter than we think. If the media company is no good it will lose its readers, listeners, viewers, or whatever it has.
Sunil Kumar, India/ USA

If India welcomes foreign media, it would be great for the public because the truth will come out and it will be hard to corrupt.
Chirag, USA

Foreign media journalists do not have the required understanding of India's culture

Pravin Mehta, India
I believe that foreign media journalists do not have the required understanding of India's culture, social and religious life along with politics, education system etc. How can a person whose only experience with India has been a fortnight's stay in one of India's five star hotels, ever be expected to have a proper perception of happenings in India?
Pravin Mehta, India

Indian media is dominated by the upper caste. A majority of them is biased against minorities - they will never allow independent media to enter the Indian market.
Aslam Qureshi, India

India does not have a free press or free media. Its press is owned and controlled by the ruling elite who have a self-interest in preserving the status quo, the barbaric caste system, and the deep-rooted corruption in Indian society. Foreign media with free access across all of India will be able to report the truth as it witnesses it. For example, the genocide in Kashmir will be documented and reported upon; the millions of dollars of the earth-quake relief aid that is lining the pockets of the ruling elite will be exposed and those in actual need may benefit.
Rahim Khan, England

Because of the vast resources available to the giant foreign media, they succeed in elbowing out the local minnows serving local communities

Mohansingh, India
Media play an important and decisive role in any society. Even British politicians are known to fly all the way to the antipodes to pay their respects to the media tycoons who are said to control Fleet Street. If foreign media are allowed unbridled access to India, their influence in all aspects of our national life - including political, social, economic and cultural - will be enormous, but, not necessarily in the interests of Indian society or even in ensuring the free flow of information. The one and only goal of private commercial corporations is making profits for their shareholders. The propaganda organs run by the US State department, CIA and the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office endeavour to clone the rest of the world in the west's own image and, often, even to destabilise the communities to whom they beam their messages. Because of the vast resources available to the giant foreign media, they succeed in elbowing out the local minnows serving local communities, frequently establishing an oligarchic, if not monopolistic, set-up rather than the much-touted competitive, commercial environment.
Mohansingh, India

Local media in India is pretty much boring and stagnant. Let the fresh breeze blow in!
Narinder Dogra, US

It is only a logical step to allow foreign media in publications media

Prasad Sundararajan, USA
Given the growing proliferation of Internet and Cable TV in India, it is only a logical step to allow foreign media in publications media. Recently, a well known US publication mentioned that 'many Indians use only one name with an initial because their names are too long for pronunciation and to be put in a business card' ! If India allows local-based foreign media, such cultural mis-representation may not occur. Another problem for India is not to allow the foreign media to crowd the English only market but also to cater to the regional markets.
Prasad Sundararajan, USA

Foreign media must be welcomed, however, they must abide by the media laws in India.
S. Misra, USA/India

Foreign media should be welcome in India and I am sure that all right thinking people will also welcome it. The Indian press is free and nobody or no topic has escaped an alternate view point. It will nurture the democracy in India. As regards India's neighbour's , the foreign media will be feared, both by those in power and fundamentalist forces who are not interested in the objective presentation of facts.
Ravi Prashant, UK

As in any country, local media in India is generally biased and not free from the so-called 'responsible reporting' symptom

Guru Shenoy, United States
As in any country, local media in India is generally biased and not free from the so-called 'responsible reporting' symptom due to their politically inclined distortions in reporting. A foreign media agency will be immune to this behaviour. They should be welcomed but the foreign media should understand that their job is to report and not revert. Discretion and not discrimination should be applied in choosing which agency is permitted.
Guru Shenoy, United States

Living in the US and reading the reporting on India from some (not all) American newspapers, leaves one disturbed about journalistic integrity. Apparently, fact checking applies only to news about the west - for the rest any absurdity is fine. I'm guessing part of the reason is arrogance and the other part ignorance. That said, maybe having foreign media in India, itself would actually make them more responsible. At least, it will take care of the ignorance. Also, if there is to be money made this way, maybe the "mentally unequipped to handle diversity" people who are sent to India by newspapers such as the Washington Post will be challenged by a better lot.
Saira Ali, USA

Inviting journalists is always good for any country

Vijay Nair, USA
Inviting journalists is always good for any country. Sometimes only foreign journalists free from prejudice can see situations clearly and have the courage to report on them. This, in addition to current reporting, provides readers with well-rounded views. However, setting up a publishing establishment is a different matter which will need individual consideration. If care can be taken that foreign publishers do not show bias nor print propaganda-based material, then they are welcome.
Vijay Nair, USA

I don't think that Government policies in countries like India can stop the foreign media. This is because it cannot control whether you read the hardcopy of a local newspaper or the softcopy of an international newsgroup on the internet. With the fast extension of the internet people will adopt the culture that suits them.
C. Verma, UK/ India

Foreign media companies will certainly be feared in India. The simple reason is that the people in power and those who toe their line do not want the objective presentation of facts. They project India as a progressive country that is about to become a great military and economic power whereas the reality is different.
Mukhtar Naqvi, USA

It is the human greed that constantly needs and wants more that challenges culture

Tony W, Sri Lanka / USA
Will it influence South Asian culture. The answer is "no". Outside influence has very little to do with regards to cultural challenges. It is the human greed that constantly needs and wants more that challenges culture. But South Asian nations should have clear and have effective laws/regulations when opening their markets to foreign media giants. We have to set our own standards if we want our societies to grow and prosper. There is a lot of talk today with regards to globalisation and so on. South Asians have to be very careful not to let this term confuse us. It is actually westernisation under a global disguise. We can open our markets, but we will regulate them to suite our own standards. That should be the principle.
Tony W, Sri Lanka / USA

Its the turn of print media to face up to the challenges it has been preaching to other sectors. Competition is always welcome. Journalism is a pillar of democracy and should be free. We already have BBC, Star TV, CNN, CNBC et al beaming news through radio and cable. The decision on what is right and what is wrong should be left to the readers. I disagree with people who think that print media has a greater impact on culture than television or cinema.
Dhirendra, India

I personally feel that the foreign media should be welcomed in India. It is always better to get an outsider's opinion about various events in India instead of just the local media. The outside viewpoint in most cases portrays an impartial view of any given situation.
Alan E. Francis, USA

India is a poor democracy struggling to nurture its diversity against severe odd with significant hindrance from its geopolitical and historic baggage. It wished to chart its own destiny by remaining non-aligned and has to pay dearly when faced with a lethal forces of big power politics. There would be legitimate suspicions of foreign controlled media as media control leads to political manipulation. A developing country can ill-afford such potent instruments of coercion and corruption that may not be in the interest of socio-economic progress. There is of course a case that these fears are not well founded in which case a vibrant competition can work wonders for a healthy democracy.
Vinod Dawda, UK

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17 Nov 00 | South Asia
India upholds foreign media ban
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