Congress to ensure 90% quota in media including ownership: Rahul Gandhi

Gandhi said that Congress will commission financial and institutional surveys, create vacancies for OBC, SC, ST and minority populations in all institutions including media

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Rahul Gandhi addresses a rally in Hyderabad to launch the party manifesto on Saturday, April 6, 2024

Rahul Gandhi addresses a rally in Hyderabad to launch the party manifesto on Saturday, April 6, 2024

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New Delhi: While launching the Congress manifesto on Friday in Hyderabad, Rahul Gandhi promised a financial survey along with the caste survey and said that Congress will provide rights according to the population not only in government but also in all private companies including media.

Under the social justice head, the manifesto of the grand old party said, “While OBC, SC and ST constitute nearly 70 per cent of India’s population, their representation in high-ranking professions, services and businesses is disproportionately low. No progressive modern society should tolerate such inequality or discrimination based on ancestry and the consequent denial of equal opportunity.”

To achieve this, the Congress manifesto said it would establish a Diversity Commission that will measure, monitor and promote diversity in public and private employment and education.

In his speech, Gandhi said, “OBC, SC, ST, minorities and economically weaker sections in general category add up to 90% of the country’s population. If you look at the institutions and large companies, you will not find the representation of this 90% population.”

“Take out the list of large media companies. You will not find even one OBC, SC, ST or minority among the owners. The same is true for the top 200 companies in India,” Gandhi added.

“After the caste census, we will commission financial and institutional surveys. We will create vacancies for OBC, SC, ST and minority population in all institutions whether it is media or bureaucracy,” Gandhi said.

Under a dedicated segment for media, the Congress manifesto said it would protect journalistic freedoms and curb monopolies.

Below are the promises made in the Congress manifesto under the head “media”:

1. Congress has always believed that self-regulation is the best way to correct the misuse of the media. Congress will amend the Press Council of India Act, 1978 to strengthen the system of self-regulation, protect journalistic freedoms, uphold editorial independence and guard against government interference.

2. Congress will amend the Press Council of India Act, 1978 to empower the Council to deal with the menace of fake news and paid news.

3. Congress will defend independent journalism by enacting laws to protect journalists from coercive action by the State. This includes restricting the powers of the government for surveillance of journalists, seizure of their devices and exposure of their sources.

4. Congress will pass a law to curb monopolies in the media, cross-ownership of different segments of the media, and control of the media by business organisations. Congress will refer cases of suspected monopolies to the Competition Commission of India.

5. All media houses, irrespective of the size, will be required to disclose their ownership structures (direct and indirect), cross holdings, revenue streams, etc. through their websites.

6. Congress will pass a law to preserve the freedom of the Internet and to prevent arbitrary and frequent shutdowns of the Internet.

7. Many new laws (e.g. the Broadcasting Services (Regulation) Bill, 2023; Digital Personal Data Protection Act, 2023; Press and Registration of Periodicals Act, 2023, etc.) give unbridled powers of censorship to the government. The first named Bill will be withdrawn. The restrictive provisions of the two Acts will be amended or deleted to eliminate backdoor censorship.

8. Congress will amend the Cinematograph Act, 1952 to provide that the Central Board of Film Certification grants graded certificates to according to transparent and reasonable criteria.

2024 lok sabha elections Broadcasting Services (Regulation) Bill 2023 media Press Council of India Rahul Gandhi Congress Digital Personal Data Protection Act cross-media ownership