Attempts by Gautam Adani, Asia’s richest man, to buy NDTV led to discussions about press freedom.

Indian billionaire Gautam Adani said he sees the acquisition of prominent broadcaster New Delhi Television Ltd (NDTV) as a “responsibility” rather than a business opportunity.

In a interview with the Financieele Dagblad Published on Friday, Asia’s richest man said the media should have the “courage” to support the government when it is right.

“Independence means if the government has done something wrong, you say it is wrong,” said Adani, who is close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

According to Modi, India has dropped 10 places in the global press freedom ranking by media watchdog Reporters Without Borders, ranking 150th out of 180 countries surveyed.

Journalists critical of the government are harassed, arrested and subjected to widespread abuse on social media by supporters of Modi’s government Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

In August, an Adani Group company indirectly acquired a 29 percent stake in NDTV and made an offer for an additional 26 percent. The takeover bid remains incomplete.

NDTV is one of the few Indian broadcasters that is critical of the government and does not always follow the official line.

“Why can’t you support one media house to become independent and have a global footprint?” Adani told the paper, adding that “India doesn’t have one [outlet] comparable to the Financial Times or Al Jazeera.”

Adani – whose interests range from Australian coal mines to Indian ports – said he would launch a “super app” within three to six months to connect Adani airport passengers with other services from his conglomerate.

He also plans to invest more than $4 billion in a petrochemical complex in the western state of Gujarat, where both he and Modi are from.

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By wy9m6

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