Adani’s NDTV stake buys fuel fears for media freedom in India – Vophs India

An attempted hostile takeover of a prominent news television channel by India’s richest man has reignited concerns about media freedom in the country.

2022 Press Freedom Index The Paris-based Reporters Without Borders ranks India 150 out of 180 countries.

other than that Verbal and physical abuseEven murderNumber of journalists from supporters of different political parties Unethical editorial practiceAnd The spread of fake news There are all the reasons for this poor rating.

Then there is the matter of the often thinly disguised political bias of reporters, editors and television anchors.

Amid these allegations, billionaire Gautam Adani has taken this surprising step.

A unit of his business empire announced yesterday (August 24). Acquisition of 29.18% in NDTV Through a complex contract. It has also issued an open offer for another 26% at Rs 294 per share (total: Rs 493 crore, $61.73 million). If it goes through, $13 billion group The channel will have a controlling stake of 55 percent.

Apparently, no one, not even the high-profile founders of NDTV, saw this coming.

Adani is seen as a close associate of Prime Minister Narendra Modi since his days as Gujarat chief minister in the early 2000s or even earlier. In addition, Modi also enjoys strong support from Mukesh Ambani, whose Reliance Industries controls Network 18, another Indian media giant.

Many other media empires often seem to do the same. Govt bid. And Adani already has a stake in quint digital media.

In short, a significant segment of India’s media industry is seen as such. Boy Scout of Modi government.

The takeover of NDTV, among the few remaining outliers, has therefore rattled India’s media freedom advocates.

Gautam Adani will crush media freedom in India?

Founded in 1988 by journalists Radhika Roy and her husband Prannoy Roy, NDTV’s reporting has regularly questioned India’s BJP government and its often vocal supporters. This has only strengthened his reputation as one who does not bend.

Earlier, NDTV, which was seen as its victim by the government, was accused of financial irregularities. Oh The case was followed against the channel by the Anti-Money Laundering Agency of India.

Now the question is, can this change everything?

The Delhi Union of Journalists (DUJ) has alleged that Adani’s takeover of NDTV was “at the behest of the then government”.

“This move will reinforce the ruling party’s narrow, unipolar worldview and further impose it on citizens. The illusion that India is still a democracy has been shattered. He has said.

Some are hoping that despite a hostile takeover, and even if the acquisition is completed, Adani may not, for whatever reason, intervene too much institutionally. Such an assumption is apparently based on Quint Digital Media’s operations, in which Adani acquired a stake in March this year.

Is the Adani-NDTV acquisition a done deal?

The hope is that NDTV’s promoters will not give up easily.

Hours after yesterday’s announcement, NDTV issued a statement Stating that Adani’s move was “implemented without any input, discussion or consent from the founders of NDTV.”

Legal experts also expect a fight.

“From NDTV’s statements, it appears that this may not be a friendly takeover as per the generally agreed terms and procedures, and may, in fact, result in a hostile takeover,” Deputy Laviya Swain, Founder and Managing Partner, DLS Law Offices, told Reuters.

The network wasted no time either.

In a stock exchange filing late last night, NDTV said, “Its founders Prannoy and Radhika Rai have been barred from buying or selling shares in India’s securities market from 2020, and as such they are not allowed to sell those shares.” Can’t transfer who were trying to get Adani. Control, Reuters reported..

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