BBC India Restructures For New Entity To Comply With Foreign Investment FDI Rules

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BBC India Restructures For New Entity To Comply With Foreign Investment Rules

BBC premises in India faced “surveys” by tax authorities over alleged FDI violations earlier this year

London:

Four BBC staff members on Tuesday announced plans to leave the organisation and form a new entity in India named Collective Newsroom, which will provide services “as commissioned by the BBC” and in compliance with the country’s foreign direct investment (FDI) rules.

According to a statement from the UK-based public service broadcaster, Collective Newsroom has been established as an Indian company that is wholly owned by Indian citizens. It replaces BBC World Service India to continue to provide language-based content.

The move follows the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) premises in India facing “surveys” by tax authorities and an ensuing investigation by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) over alleged FDI violations earlier this year.

“The establishment of Collective Newsroom Private Limited ensures the BBC and Collective Newsroom can meet their shared commitment to Indian audiences and cover stories on India that matter to global audiences. It is in compliance with the Indian Foreign Direct Investment law,” reads the BBC statement.

“Collective Newsroom has been established as an Indian company, wholly owned by Indian citizens, with four existing staff members leaving the BBC to lead Collective Newsroom. These senior leaders have a wealth of editorial and programme-making experience,” it said.

“The BBC will commission Collective Newsroom to produce its six Indian language services as well as Indian digital output and Indian YouTube channel in English for audiences globally,” it added.

“Audiences in India can be assured that the BBC’s Indian language services and unique range of quality output will inform, educate and entertain audiences across our diverse and highly engaged country under the agreement between the BBC and Collective Newsroom. We launch Collective Newsroom with big ambitions for audiences in India and beyond,” said Rupa Jha, Senior News Editor, BBC India, and founding shareholder of Collective Newsroom.

The BBC said it has a long-held and deep-rooted place in India’s media landscape, having first launched the Hindi language service in 1940. Since then, it has developed a range of BBC output, expanding the number of Indian language services and growing audience figures from “decade-to-decade with its agenda-setting and high impact journalism”.

“The BBC’s presence in India is steeped in a rich history that has always put audiences first, so we warmly welcome the formation of Collective Newsroom which continues that progression. The BBC will get first class content from Collective Newsroom that will be rooted in India and in line with the editorial standards audiences expect from the BBC,” said Jonathan Munro, Deputy CEO, BBC News.

Liliane Landor, Senior Controller, BBC News International Services, added: “Two of the BBC’s critical strengths are its truly global output for audiences and our reputation as a trusted source of news.

“We are deeply committed to excellence in journalism for and from India, and this agreement ensures the continued production of independent, international and impartial journalism that the BBC News brand is renowned for in India and around the world.” Under the new arrangement, activity for BBC Monitoring and the BBC’s English language newsgathering operation for global output will remain with the BBC.

In India, content is provided in six languages – BBC News Hindi, BBC News Marathi, BBC News Gujarati, BBC News Punjabi, BBC News Tamil, BBC News Telugu, as well as in English, to 82 million people around the country on average each week.

According to official statistics, BBC News Hindi is the BBC’s language service with the largest audience and in 2023, across all platforms, its weekly reach figure grew 27 per cent year-on-year.

The BBC World Service claims a reach of 318 million people on average every week globally and operates 42 different language services.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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