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Owners Database

Media ownership in India presents a pretty sight from the outside. Mostly consisting of individuals with a background in media, or companies that have media as a part of their diverse portfolio or businessmen with multiple interests. But scratch beneath the surface, and one can see politics lurking in the background. Some significant examples: Asianet News Malayalam and Suvarna News Kannada, are owned by Asianet News Network Limited, or ANN. But ANN is majorly owned by Jupiter Capital, a company owned by Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Member of Parliament from India’s ruling party, the Bharatiya Janata Party or BJP. The Darda brothers, former Ministers of the Indian National Congress government in Maharashtra, and in the previous Congress-led regime at the Centre, United Progressive Alliance (UPA) own Lokmat. The biggest media conglomerate in South India, the Sun Group is run by Kalanithi Maran, the grand nephew of the former Chief Minister of Tamilnadu, Muthuvel Karunanidhi of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam. News Live, a prominent news television channel in the eastern part is run by Riniki Bhuyan Sarma, the wife of the minister in the BJP government in Assam, Himant Biswa Sarma. Sakal, a prominent Marathi newspaper is run by the family of Sharad Pawar, President of the Nationalist Congress Party. There are many examples like these in our study.

It's important to note that political affiliation does not always or necessarily translate into political bias, but the link between political affiliation and content bias requires a whole new study including content analysis which is beyond the scope of this project. However, for the purposes of this study,  political proximity of media especially through direct ownership or financial dependence signifies presence of a risk to media pluralism.

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