1. Instruction : Two principles are involved in the controversy about the presence of foreign-controlled media in the country; the free flow of ideas and images across national borders and the need to safeguard the national interest and preserve cultural autonomy. Both are valid but both are at loggerheads because each has been used to promote less lofty goals. The first principle conforms to a moral imperative; freedom of expression cannot rhyme with restrictions imposed by any government. But the free flow rhetoric also clouds the facts that the powerful western, and especially American, media can and often do present, subtly or brazenly, news in a manner which promotes Western political, ideological and strategic interests. Besides, western entertainment programmes present lifestyles and values cherished by traditional societies. All this explains why so many Indian newspapers, magazines and news agencies have sought protection from the courts to prevent foreign publications and news agencies from operating in the country. Their arguments are weak on two counts. As the bitter debate on a new world information and communication order demonstrated in the late seventies and early eighties, many of those who resent Western 'invasion' in the information and cultural fields are no great friends of democracy. Secondly, the threat of such an 'invasion' has been aired by those media groups in the developing countries who fear that their business interests will be harmed if western groups, equipped with large financial and technological resources and superior management skills, are allowed to operate in the country without let.
The fear is valid but it goes against the gain of the economic reform programme. The presence of foreign newspaper and television channels will increase competition which, in course of time, can only lead to the upgradation of dynamic Indian newspapers and television of the market. One way to strike a balance between the two antagonistic principles would be to allow foreign media entry into the country, provided the Indian state treats them on par with the domestic media on all fronts. On the import of technology, for instance, foreign media cannot be allowed duty concession denied to their Indian counterparts. Foreign media will also have to face the legal consequences should they run foul of Indian laws. Why, for example, should the BBC, or Time magazine or the Economist get away with showing a map of Kashmir which is at variance with the office Indian map? Why should they go scot-free when they allow secessionists and terrorists to air their views without giving the government the right of reply? Or when they depict sexually explicit scenes which would otherwise not be cleared by the Censor Board? Since the government can do precious little in the matter, especially about satellite broadcasts, what if it should consider attaching the properties of the offending parties? Demands of this kind are bound to be voiced unless New Delhi makes it clear to the foreign media that they will have to respect Indian susceptibilities especially where it concerns the country's integrity and its culture. It may be able to derive some inspiration from France's successful attempts in the recent GATT to protect its cinematographic industry.
1.Which of the following is one of the points weakening the argument to prevent entry of foreign media?
The arguments being put forth are at loggerheads
The threat being voiced by those whose business will be harmed by such an entry
The foreign media may not be treated on par with the domestic media
Such entry would be against traditional culture
None of these.