Pvt FM radio may be allowed to broadcast news

Pvt FM radio may be allowed to broadcast newsNEW DELHI: Government today indicated it may allow private FM radio to broadcast news with channels having an option of picking content from “three-four” sources and not just the All India Radio bulletins as proposed earlier.

“About (broadcasting) news on FM radio, it is an issue close to my heart. Sometimes I am unable to understand the government logic. When 24×7 news channels have the freedom to show news the way they want to…, what have radio channels done that they can’t air news?

“Why only restrict radio channels to AIR (All India Radio) bulletins (feed)? There can be three-four more options.

We are looking at this issue very positively and we will take a decision soon,” Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar said here.

Addressing a roundtable of CEOs of Media and Entertainment industry, he was referring to rules which prohibit private FM radio channels from broadcasting news.

The previous UPA government, while approving ‘Policy Guidelines for Phase-III expansion of FM radio, had approved carriage of news bulletins of AIR on private radio.

The I&B ministry is planning to get over 200 more cities covered by private FM channels under the phase III expansion for which over 800 FM channels will be auctioned across cities.

Speaking about Phase-III expansion of FM radio, Javadekar said the process was on and his ministry would see how it could be expedited.

The government would work to establish 1000 Community Radio stations and encourage those who want to work in this field, he said, adding that he told officials that All India Radio should also encourage new talent.

Speaking at the event, I&B secretary Bimal Julka said a substantial headway has been made in the process to auction FM phase-III which has been delayed.

“We have come to the stage where the selection of e-auctioneer would be completed by tomorrow,” he added. –PTI