Trai changes gear, accepts Govt view on not allowing news on FM radio

Trai changes gear, accepts Govt view on not allowing news on FM radio

NEW DELHI: Changing their earlier stand, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India today said it had decided to accept the views of the Government on limiting the sources of News and Current Affairs for FM radio. The sector regulator, however, recommended that a review for expansion of sources may be considered after three years.

Similarly, while Trai accepted the Information and Broadcasting ministry?s categorisation of content to be treated as non-news and current affairs broadcast, the scope of such content may be enlarged after a period of three years after reviewing the experience.

The Authority has strongly reiterated its earlier recommendation for removal of ceiling limit of ownership of 15 per cent of total permitted FM radio stations in the country by any permission holder.

These comments have been made on a letter received from the Ministry on 18 November in response to the recommendations sent by Trai on the third Phase of Private FM Radio Broadcasting on 22 February 2008.

The Ministry had requested Trai to respond to certain issues relating to its earlier recommendations in terms of the provisions of Section 11 of Trai Act. The main issues on which a response was sought from Trai were geographical basis for licensing ? City vis-?-vis District; restriction on ownership of multiple channels; change in ownership of permission holder company; News and Current Affairs; Floor price of the bids; and Automatic renewal of permission.

The Authority has accepted the Government?s views on allowing restructuring before start of FM radio broadcasting, but reiterated its views on restrictions on change in ownership after start of FM radio broadcasting.

The Authority has conveyed its acceptance to continuation of city level licensing in the larger interest of expediting the process.

The Authority has accepted the views of the Government for continuing with the current level of floor price of the bids.

Trai has recommended automatic renewal of permission with higher of the ?future value? of the One Time Entry Fee paid by a bidder or the latest One Time Entry Fee paid by any bidder for a similar category city in the same state with the existing permission holder having the first right of refusal.

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