Swamy Didn’t File PIL Against Foreign Ownership in Indian Media

The viral post claimed Swamy had filed a petition in the court against the foreign ownership of the Indian media.

Published29 Dec 2018, 11:40 AM IST
WebQoof
2 min read

CLAIM

A post is going viral on social media that claims that BJP leader Subramanian Swamy had filed a petition in the court against the foreign ownership of the Indian media houses. The post read: "In his appeal, Swamy has stated that all News Channels and Media houses in India should only be owned by Indian (sic)."

The messages have been shared by many people on Twitter over the course of past few months.

Soon after, some of the Twitter users doubted the authenticity of the viral message.

TRUE OR FALSE?

The claim in the viral post is misleading. The BJP leader, recently, has not filed petition regarding foreign citizens owning (completely or partially) Indian media houses.

However, in 2013, Swamy did file a petition in Delhi High Court, where he urged the court for a direction to rectify “a lacuna in the Press and Registration of Books Act, 1867 regarding the definition of Editor.”

The PIL questioned the legality of an American citizen, Siddharth Varadarajan, holding the position of an editor in an Indian daily newspaper, The Hindu.

Swamy had argued in his petition that editor of an Indian newspaper must be a citizen of the country.

Vardarajan was appointed as a contributing editor and columnist in 2011 by the board of Kasturi and Sons Ltd, as per Live Mint.

Soon after the petition was filed, Vardarajan had resigned from his post.

The chairperson, N Ram, had said that the move was not caused by Swamy's PIL, however, he agreed that it was a “hanging like a sword” on their heads.

In October 2013, Delhi High Court dismissed the petition citing the resignation of Varadarajan. The court had said the issue must be settled by Parliament as the issue is not for court to “legislate”.

According to The Hindu, the court said, "It may be true that citizenship kindles a sense of patriotism and loyalty and thus it may be desirable that a person who is not a citizen of India should be an editor of publication in India."

In 2011, then Minister of Information and Broadcasting Ambika Soni drafted the Press and Registration of Books and Publication Bill.

The definition of an ‘editor’ in the Bill read:

‘Editor’ means a person, whether called editor, chief-editor, sub-editor or by whatever name called, who is a citizen of India and ordinarily resides in India, who controls the selection of the matter that is brought out in a publication.

This Bill never became and Act and the Press and Registration of Books Act of 1856 still stands to this date.

(With inputs from The Hindu, Live Mint)

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