I&B Minister favours self-regulation by online news media


Information and Broadcasting Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore today favoured self regulation by online news media but said the government was ready to frame guidelines if it was approached.

As of now, there were no restrictions on the functioning of these portals, the Union Minister of State told reporters here replying to a question on the news portals.

The Minister said there were 56,000 web portals in the country and he had during his interactions with media houses, especially those who have web portals, asked them to create a body of their own like the NBA (News Broadcasters Association).

"You can have your own self-regulation happening. We are completely supportive of any move by the web portals to come together as an association and create a code of conduct for themselves like all the other journalists do," Rathore, given independent charge of I&B Ministry last month, said. "The government is ready to frame guidelines if any representation is made in this regard," he added.

Rathore was speaking after participating in a programme here to highlight the achievements of the Narendra Modi led government in the last four years. The Modi government was moving on the right track, he said adding in the last four years, the stature of India had grown at the global level.

It had made "remarkable achievements" in the last 48 months, which the previous governments had failed to do in the last 48 years, he said.

Replying to a question on the 'silence' of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the violence and deaths in police firing in Tuticorin in Tamil Nadu, he said union ministers had condemned the police action. "We have condemned the handling of the situation by the state government and also the police action," he said.

On the opposition parties winning more number of seats in the by-elections in various states, he cited lack of awareness among the public about the 'good work' done by the NDA government as a reason for it. "Public is not aware of the good work done by the ruling government (at the Centre)," he said responding to a question why the NDA faced defeats despite implementing various welfare schemes for the people.

In the recent byelections, results of which were announced yesterday, opposition parties emerged victorious in 11 out of 14 Lok Sabha and Assembly seats while limiting the BJP and its allies to just three.

On the rising prices of petrol and diesel, he said the minister concerned had already proposed to bring them under the Goods and Services Tax. The Government was also considering alternative ways to bring down the prices. He said the value-added tax (VAT) levied by the state governments was a reason for the price hike, adding if petroleum products were brought under the GST, states will lose revenue considerably.

Rathore, who holds charge of sports ministry, also said the government was planning to set up sports schools in 20 districts across the country and extend them to 150 districts in the next four years.