| 21 Feb 2020
Advertising, programming conditions relaxed for community radio

NEW DELHI: While holding that the grant of permission agreement will be extended for five years at a time for community radio stations, the government has said that the application will have to be submitted in the fourth year.

In relaxation of its guidelines of 2006 to promote the growth in the sector, it was stated that the first extension shall be granted on the basis of an application and verification of adherence to the terms and conditions of the permission.

For second extension beyond ten years, the continuous operation of CRS by the permission holder for 10 years will be treated as ground for extension. CRS should submit their application for extension of permission one year before end of the permission period.

Considering that there are less than 150 operational CRS even after more than a decade of launch of the scheme, the changes announced today along with the funding scheme announced earlier this month would help the growth of this sector.

News and current affairs and programmes of current affairs which are political in nature will not be permitted. However, CRS can broadcast news and current affairs contents sourced exclusively from All India Radio in its original form or translated into the local language/dialect. AIR shall source its news to CRS without any charges. It will be the responsibility of the CRS permission holder to ensure that the news is not distorted or edited during translation.

Another Important relaxation is in terms of permitting additional categories that can come under non-news and current affairs broadcast.

These are:

(a) Information pertaining to sporting events excluding live coverage. However live commentaries of sporting events of local nature may be permissible.
(b) Information pertaining to Traffic and Weather.
(c) Information pertaining to and coverage of local cultural events, festivals.
(d) Coverage of topics pertaining to examinations, results, admissions, career counseling.
(e) Availability of employment opportunities.
(f) Public announcements pertaining to civic amenities like electricity, water supply, natural calamities, health alerts etc. as provided by the local administration.
(g) Such other categories not permitted at present that may subsequently be specifically permitted by Ministry of Information and Broadcasting from time to time.

The additions also say that transmission of sponsored programmes shall not be permitted except programmes sponsored by central and state governments and other organisations to broadcast public interest information.

Limited advertising and announcements up to a maximum of seven minutes per hour relating to local events, local businesses and services and employment opportunities will be allowed.

(In a related development, the Directorate of Advertising and Visual Publicity deleted the empanelment condition that "Community Radio Stations will undertake in writing that DAVP approved rates accepted by them are their lowest rates and exclusive to DAVP and cannot be offered to any other agency".)

The additions in the guidelines further said: “In disaster situations, the District Magistrate's permission shall be sufficient to relocate CRS. However, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting should be informed of the change of place by both the CRS and District Magistrate.