| 15 Jun 2024
CRS free to get ads from any source, Govt opposition only to political news

NEW DELHI: Community Radio Stations are free to get advertisements from anywhere including the government agencies or private organizations.

Reiterating this, Information and Broadcasting Ministry Joint Secretary Mihir Kumar Singh has said the government wants community radio to be commercially independent and that was the objective of the scheme for funds for content as well as equipment.

He also said that the only reason for the bar on privately-produced news was that it might be misused by some political or anti-social parties. But the Government had specified several areas on which private radio could broadcast news and this included local news, sports news and so on. “The only bar is on political news which can be misused.”

Addressing a meet organized by UNESCO to coincide with World Radio Day on “Radio is you: Community, Diversity, Volunteerism”, Singh said CRs were free to broadcast news that could stand up in Court. He was referring to a petition pending in the Supreme Court where the Government has already said it does not have the means to monitor privately produced news and that is why has favoured offering news bulletins by All India Radio on ‘as is where is’ basis.

He regretted that the number of CRS in the country was only around 200 after more almost 15 years of having launched the scheme. This matter was under study and the launching of the Fund was one reason for this.

He said that the government realized the major role that community radio could play in advocacy and in cementing the nation.

Community Radio Association Treasurer Pooja Murada who is also Director (Communications) in S M Sehgal Foundation said that CRS worked for common cause, and the faith of the people. It also helped to bring out the diversity.

Federation of Community Radio Stations Secretary General D P Singh said CRS should concentrate on the empowerment of the people in their immediate neighbourhood and not distant news.

International Association for Women in Radio and Television (IAWRT) Managing Trustee Archana Kapoor said CRS can truly be used to cement the people and bring about greater understanding of each other. CRS talks for the people, she stressed.

She is also station director of Radio Mewat.

Drishti Executive Director Debarun Dutt said that radio highlighted the vibrancy in diversity of the local people.

Earlier in the inaugural session, Professor Vinod Pavarala who is UNESCO Chair on Community Media stressed the power of radio by explaining how even Adolf Hitler had blacked out BBC and used his own radio to dominate people but clandestine listening to BBC continued.

Referring to the diversity, he talked of the Nigerian station Borderless Radio broadcasting from London/

He said although the number of CRS was only around 200, the medium had not belied the people and served a useful purpose.

He therefore said the anxiety about news on CRS was ‘meaningless’ as the stations would themselves show responsibility. It was ‘time to let go,” he added.

“What is at stake is not the security of the country, but a secure nation”, he said, urging the I and B Ministry to hold a dialogue with the CRS on issue of news.

He said that the CRS could carry AIR News but should be permitted to also carry local news.

Answering a question, he said that there was evidence that radio had helped at times of natural calamities and also to control extremist elements.

UNESCO Director in India and for neighbouring countries Shigeru Aoyagi and UN Information Centre in India and Bhutan Derk Segaar also spoke on the occasion.

Earlier, the meet commenced with the reading of the message by UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova in which she had stressed the strength of radio in the growth of a nation.

Also read: Radio connects people in crises and remains vibrant: Sheheryar

PM, UNESCO DG call for maximum use of power of radio on World Radio Day