Regulators

I&B ministry 'open' to FM radio channels airing 'news'

NEW DELHI: This may be music to the ears of some of the private FM radio players.

The Indian government is "quite open" to the idea of allowing news on private fm radio but will look at "all aspects" before taking any decision, information and broadcasting minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said today.

"We are quite open to the idea, but we have to see all aspects", Prasad said interacting with the media at the foreign correspondents club when asked as to how news and current affairs was permitted on private TV channels but not allowed on private FM radio.

Noting that a great radio revolution was about to happen in India, he said there was "scope for improvement" in the FM radio sector and pointed out that there were several radio stations in Colombo. He said government would look into the issues concerning fm radio before the second round of bidding.

Prasad said there were as many as 290 million listeners of all India radio.

Turning to TV, he said he was for self-regulation but expressed concern that "race for commerce was driving everything" and he was not getting the "desired response" even three months after becoming the minister.

Prasad said he was often faced with questions as to why there was no regulatory body for TV channels as there was press council for print media and censor board for films.

"I am all for freedom and creativity, but the creators of creativity should need to be responsive to the sensitivities of the people", he said adding that a bottomline was necessary.

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