Govt decision on allowing news on FM soon

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New Delhi, Feb 23: The Government will soon take a decision on allowing news broadcast on FM Radio and raising FDI limit to 49 per cent in the sector, as recommended by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).

TRAI has said broadcasters may be permitted to broadcast news taking content from UNI, PTI or any other authorised news agency, AIR, Doordarshan and authorised TV news channels. ''The Telecom Regulator yesterday submitted its recommendations for the third phase of FM Radio on which we are soon going to take a view and come out with a decision,'' Secretary Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Asha Swarup said here.

She was speaking at the inauguration of the 14th International Conference and Exhibition on Terrestrial and Satellite Broadcasting organised by the Broadcast and Engineering Society of India.

Besides raising the FDI limit to 49 per cent and allowing news in FM, TRAI has also recommended removing restriction on multiple ownership of channels in a city, networking of FM radio programmes across entities, and changing the unit for Private FM Radio broadcast licensing from city to district.

Ms Swarup said the second phase of the FM has been very successful as 266 radio stations had so far been sanctioned and around 100 operationalised.

Tender of the 97 remaining stations would be floated soon, she said, adding that the sector will further grow with the implementation of the third phase for which TRAI had come out with its recommendations yesterday.

The Secretary also said that the government would soon come out with a roadmap for extension of CAS to other cities as recommended by the telecom regulator.

Talking about digitisation, she said the government had already accepted TRAI recommendation on HIT (Headend in the Sky) which would reduce the cost of digitisation of cable TV and mobile TV technology.

TRAI recommendations on IPTV and mobile TV had also been accepted and the Ministry would hold talks with the Telecom Department for spectrum.

Ms Asha Swaroop said the Ministry was considering opening the terrestrial network to private broadcasters. She said digitisation was the need of the hour, as it would open up a whole world of new applications. The broadcast scene was changing so fast with ever new technologies coming up that the government was pressed hard to come out with required legislation to regulate the sector, she said.

The government aim was to phase out the analogue system by the 12th five year plan in 2017, she said.

Minister for Information and Broadcasting Priyaranj Dasmunsi, who was scehduled to inaugurate the conference, could not come due to some exigenies, but he sent a message in which he said the BES had always taken up new challenges and been successful in creating awareness about the technological changes in the broadcasting world.

The keynote address was delivered by Dr Kazuyoshi Shogen, the Executive Research Engineeer of NHK.

CEO Prasar Bharati BS lalli called for adoptation and use of latest technologies for common good. He said the reach of the TV and radio in India was growing by leaps and bounds, a scenario in which the government has to see how the commonman got the latest and the best at a minimum cost.

President of the BES P S Sunderum also spoke on the occasion.


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