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BBC India restructures business after centre tweaks FDI rules

Global broadcaster the BBC has withdrawn from its newsroom in India. The move comes less than a year after income tax authorities questioned the entity for alleged violations.

The company has handed over its publishing license to its employee-established private limited company. This move is a first for the company anywhere in the world.

Collective Newsroom, the private limited company set up by four ex-BBC employees will handle and produce all of BBC’s India content in seven languages on digital including Hindi, Gujarati, Marathi, Punjabi, Tamil and Telugu. According to the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Collective Newsroom Private Limited was incorporated on October 27, 2020.

As per reports, the BBC has asked the Govt to allow acquisition of 26 percent stake in the new company.

BBC was forced to restructure its India business because of the new Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) rules that were introduced in 2020. The rules imposed a 26 percent FDI limit in India’s digital media sector.

The company’s operations were earlier managed by BBC India. More than 99 percent of this company was owned by the British broadcasting parent. Once the FDI limit was imposed, companies that exceeded 26 percent, were told to reduce their foreign investment to fall under the regulations. StoryBoard18

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