Digital news publications in India have one month to share FDI details with the government — and till October next year to comply

Digital news publications in India have one month to share FDI details with the government — and till October next year to comply
India's Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Ministry has given digital news companies one month to disclose whether or not they meet the 26% FDI limitPxhere
  • News websites, portals, aggregators and agencies have been asked to disclose whether they are within the 26% foreign direct investment (FDI) limit to the Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Ministry.
  • They have one month to get approval from the newly anointed department that took over for the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY).
  • Those who exceed the 26% cap will have till 15 October 2021 to reduce their foreign investment.
The Indian government’s new policy to limit foreign direct investment (FDI) into news websites, portals, aggregators and agencies at 26% is now being enforced by the Information and Broadcasting ( I&B) Ministry.

While print news and televised news channels have always fallen under the gambit of the I&B Ministry, digital news portals and websites are new turfs formerly with the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY).

Those with foreign investment below 26% have been asked to furnish their details within one month — by December 16.

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Those with foreign investment over 26% also have to meet the same deadline to disclose their financials. However, they have an additional deadline of October 15, 2021, to bring their investment down to the required level and resubmit their details for approval from the I&B.

And, any new investment that news companies plan to bring in has to be approved by the central government. Any foreign personnel that come on board, and will be working from India for more than 60 days, will need to get security clearance prior to their deployment.

India continues to squeeze on Chinese investment
The move comes as India continues to battle China on the digital front, having banned mobile apps by the Chinese manufacturers in two tranches. The likes of Facebook, Twitter and even India’s home-grown payment app Paytm have been questioned by India’s Parliamentary Committee on their data sharing and financial links with China.

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For digital news, the change of the guard happened last week when the Indian government brought all over-the-top (OTT) services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video as well as digital news sites under the I&B’s umbrella.

What remains unclear is if Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other social networking platforms are also covered under this umbrella since news is also disseminated using those mediums among the many other unanswered questions.

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