The Centre has asked the digital media companies of the country to which foreign investment to reduce it to 26% within one year.

The ministry of information and broadcasting in an order issued on Monday stated that digital media groups which have foreign investment less than 26% should submit complete details about their shareholding pattern within one month, Hindustan Times reported.

They will also have to provide details about the directors, promoters and shareholders.

“Entities, which, at present, have an equity structure with foreign investment exceeding 26 per cent would give similar details… within one month and to take necessary steps for bringing down the foreign investment to 26% by 15 October 2021 and seek approval of the ministry of information and broadcasting,” the ministry order said.

The Central government’s order comes a year after the Union Cabinet spelt out a 26% foreign investment limit for entities engaged in uploading or streaming of news and current affairs via digital media.

Any entity which intends to bring fresh foreign investment in the country has to seek prior approval of the central government through the foreign investment facilitation portal of DPIIT.

The ministry has also stipulated that the companies will have to comply with “the requirements of citizenship of the Board of Directors and of the Chief Executive Officers (by whatever name called)”.

The entities are required to obtain security clearance for all foreign personnel likely to be deployed for more than 60 days in a year by way of appointment, contract or consultancy or any other capacity for functioning of the entity prior to their deployment.

For this purpose, the order said, the entities will apply to the ministry of information and broadcasting at least 60 days in advance and the proposed foreign personnel shall be deployed by the entity only after prior approval of this ministry.

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