By 28 August, 2010

The Indian markets regulator has made it mandatory for media firms to disclose stakes held by them in various companies under "private treaties", according to a filing on Friday.

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) said such private treaty arrangements typically give a media firm stake in a company in return for media coverage through advertisements, news reports and advertorials in the print or electronic media.

Such agreements may give rise to conflict of interest and may result in dilution of the independence of press, SEBI said, adding biased coverage can potentially mislead investors in the securities market.

The stake held via private treaties by a media firm should be revealed in the news coverage, SEBI said, adding board positions held by the media firm as well as any other information involving a potential conflict of interest must be disclosed.

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