Govt open to consider allowing FM radios to broadcast news

RSTV Bureau

Government is ready to consider a proposal to allow private FM radio channels to broadcast current news under certain conditions, Lok Sabha was informed on Friday.

Currently, private FM channels are not allowed to broadcast news under the FM Radio (phase-II) policy guidelines as there is no mechanism yet to monitor it and anything anti- national may go un-noticed, Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore said.

“We are open to consider the option of FM radio broadcasting news. Under the guidelines approved for FM Radio Phase-III, permission holders shall be permitted to carry the news bulletins of All India Radio in exactly same format, on such terms and conditions as may be mutually agreed with Prasar Bharati,” he said during Question Hour.

However, broadcast pertaining to the some categories like live coverage of sporting events and traffic and weather information, could be treated as non-news and current affairs broadcast and would therefore be permissible, he said.

The non-news category may contain broadcast like live commentaries of sporting events of local nature, information pertaining to traffic and weather and coverage of cultural events and festivals.

Rathore said government on January 16 had approved the e-auction of the first batch of 135 channels in 69 cities based on the reserve price formula approved by the Union Cabinet in 2011. An information memorandum was issued on January 21 and uploaded on the Ministry website (www.mib.

Thereafter, a pre-bid conference was held on January 28 with representatives of stakeholders and prospective bidders to clarify their queries and seek suggestions, he said.