| 18 Jul 2024
FM Radio to get AIR news on mutually agreed terms; CRS to get these free

NEW DELHI: While stressing that both private FM radios under Phase III and community radios have only been permitted to broadcast news bulletins of All India Radio, the latter have been permitted certain programmes which will not be termed as news.

Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Rathore told Parliament that under the FM Radio Phase–III policy guidelines, Private FM radio permission holders are 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.

No other news and current affairs programmes are permitted under the FM Radio Phase III policy, he said.

(In a public interest litigation filed by Common Cause vs Union of India, the Supreme Court has asked the Government to consider permitting Community Radio Stations and Private FM stations to broadcast news and current affairs programmes. The matter is sub-judice.)

As far as community radio stations are concerned, he said they can broadcast news and current affairs contents sourced exclusively from AIR in its original form or translated into the local language/dialect.

AIR will give its news to community radio stations without any charges, he added.

The broadcast pertaining to the following categories will be treated as non-news and current affairs broadcast and will therefore be permissible on community radio stations and private FM channels.

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 cultural events, festivals;
d) Coverage of topics pertaining to examinations, results, admissions, career counselling;
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.

After more than a decade of the introduction of community radio, the Government has issued 554 Letters of Intent (LOIs) for community radio stations, out of which 265 Grant of Permission Agreements (GOPAs) have been signed for setting up of Community Radio Stations across the country.

Tamil Nadu leads in the number of GOPAs with 35, followed by Maharashtra with 27, Uttar Pradesh with 26, and Madhya Pradesh with 20. All the others are below twenty. In at least nine cases, no GOPAs have been signed despite issuance of LOIs.