New Delhi, Aug. 6: The government today refused to make any commitments on revoking the licence of Rupert Murdoch’s STAR News channel amid a scathing Opposition attack on the uplinking policy for foreign channels and fears that national interest was being bartered away.
“This matter is under consideration of the government and it will be unfair to make any comments at this stage,” I&B minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told the Rajya Sabha. He told members he had heard their arguments and would keep them in mind while taking a final decision.
Prasad said an important consideration was ensuring that ownership and management control remained in Indian hands. He said the government had made sure that the majority on the board of directors, including the CEO and the news editor, would be resident Indians. “The government is aware of its responsibilities and would never barter away editorial control from Indian hands,” Prasad said.
The deadline for extending the uplinking facility to STAR for its news channel expired tonight without a government decision.
Information and broadcasting ministry sources said the decision would be taken tomorrow. STAR News will continue to be on air because its signals cannot be switched off under a court order.