Govt reviewing its stand on not allowing news on pvt FM Radio

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New Delhi, Sep 19 (UNI) Responding to the long-standing demand for allowing news and current affairs on the private FM Radio, the Government today said it would take a fresh view on the matter soon.

''Including current affairs and news in private FM shall be addressed afresh by the Ministry by the end of this year taking state governments and Union Territories on board,'' Minister for Information and Broadcasting Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi said here.

The Government had so far maintained that it would not allow news on FM as it was a sensitive matter and it would be very difficlut to monitor what hundreds of private FM radio stations situated even in sensitive areas were broadcasting.

''TV has some accountablity, but it would be difficlt to keep track of what message so many private FM radio were airing. Any way we are adressing the matter,'' he said briefing mediapersons about the outcome of 26th state information ministers conference here.

Mr Dasmunsi also denied allegations that the Prasar Bharati was functioning with a bias and predominantly reflected only the official view.

The Minister's clarification apparently came in response to Tamil Nadu Information Minister Parithi Ellamvazhuthi's expression of dissatisfaction with the role of the ''so called public broadcaster'' in his speech at the conference.

Prasar Bharati's contribution to further Tamil Nadu government's purposes and objectives ''has been quite negligible'' and as a public broadcaster it must supplement regional aspirations, he had said.

Mr Dasmunsi said it was a wrong impression that the state government and the Opposition were not given due coverage by the Doordarshan and All India Radio.

The Government was fully aware of the need of making Prasar Bharati more responsive to the states' and people's need, and it was soon going to settle some important problems like the status of employees etc being faced by the public broadcaster.

He said on October 5, the Group of Ministers(GoM) on Prasar Bharati would meet and take a final view of these issues.

Besides, he said the Ministry had constituted a core group and four sub-groups invloving states to go into the issues related to the Prasar Bharati, DAVP, information policy etc.

The core group will be headed by the Secretary Information and Broadcasting Asha Swaroop, he said.

Regarding CAS, he said some states were in favour of putting off further expansion of CAS till a complete assessment of its working in the specified areas of the three metros was made.

He said some states like Delhi felt the quality of service was not good.

The Minister admitted that there were some technical problems in the working of CAS which were to be taken care of.

Mr Dasmunsi said he also told the states about the Government's stand on the need of regulation in the braodcast sector and the vies of the major stakeholders.

He said there was also an agreement on the reduction of entertainment tax.


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