With the Indian Broadcasting and Digital Foundation’s 21st Annual General Meeting approaching, speculations are rife that Punit Goenka, who represents Zee Media on IBDF Board, may change the company he is representing to Zee Entertainment, highly placed industry sources told BestMediaInfo.com.
An email query sent to Goenka’s office remained unanswered by the time of filing of this report.
Currently, Punit Misra is representing Zee Entertainment on IBDF Board and is set to retire by rotation in 2023, as per data available with MCA.
Goenka was appointed as the regular Director of the IBDF Board as a representative of Zee Media in 2022.
His appointment as a Director on IBDF Board representing Zee Media came two years after he resigned as a Non-Executive Non-Independent Director of the company on July 22, 2020. Later, Goenka clarified that he had no connection with Zee Media whatsoever.
According to multiple sources, the likely reason behind this move is the SEBI order barring Goenka from holding any key managerial positions in listed companies following which the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting is reportedly watching the developments closely.
“Goenka is not holding any position in Zee Media but he is representing that company in the IBDF Board. Before any questions are raised, he is eying at changing the company he will represent on the Board. This is the only connection left between him and Zee Media,” said one of the sources BestMediaInfo.com spoke with.
“The norms for news channel(s) in India are far more stringent than for entertainment entities. A news channel requires security clearance from the Ministry of Home Affairs to operate in India. Besides, due to the FDI cap, DPIIT is also involved. With all these complexities, the direct or indirect involvement of people running a news network in governance issues cannot be ignored,” an I&B official told BestMediaInfo.com earlier.
Another source told BestMediaInfo.com that while Goenka was representing Zee Media on IBDF Board, questions were raised about his representation after Zee Media exited BARC India ratings.
Goenka sits on BARC Board as IBDF nominee where he is representing Zee Media.
It is yet to be decided whether Zee Media will be represented by Punit Misra or any other key managerial person from the company.
Zee as a Group has two positions on the IBDF Board of Directors, one each from Zee Entertainment and Zee Media.
Besides Zee, the other three big broadcasters Star, Sony and Viacom18 have two positions each.
From Sony, now Culver Max, NP Singh and Nitin Nandkarni (Sony Bangla Channels) sit on IBDF Board. Both are retiring in 2025.
Star is represented by K Madhavan and Gaurav Banerjee. Madhavan is retiring in 2023 but he is likely to swap his position with Banerjee.
From Viacom18, Rahul Joshi and I Venkat (Eenadu) are Directors on IBDF Board. With Venkat retiring this year, Rahul Joshi is likely to represent TV18 or Eenadu while Viacom18 is likely to be represented by the newly appointed CEO Kevin Vaz.
The Sun Network’s Mahesh Kumar and Prasar Bharati CEO Gaurav Dwivedi are the other two Directors on the IBDF Board representing other genres.
India Today Group Chairman Aroon Purie and India TV Chairman Rajat Sharma are Directors reserved for Special Interest Group channels.