Regulators

FM phase III agreement formats with I&B and WPC released

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NEW DELHI: Aiming to expedite the process for FM Radio Phase III, the Government has released the format of the Grant of Permission Agreement (GOPA) for FM Radio in Phase III and the agreement format for those migrating from Phase II.

The Information and Broadcasting Ministry also placed on its website mib.nic.in the format of the undertaking to be given to the WPC Wing of the Telecom Ministry for frequency assignment.

This undertaking makes it clear that the spectrum given to the FM operator will be provisional and will be surrendered in the event of the operator getting fresh spectrum after a permanent licence is issued through auction.

The permission will be valid for a period of 15 years from the effective date and there will be no extension. The permission, unless cancelled or revoked earlier, will automatically lapse and expire at the end of 15 years. Additionally, the permission holder will thereafter have no rights to continue to operate the channel after the expiry date.

The effective date of the permission period shall be reckoned from 1 April, 2015. The permission will be for free to air broadcasts on main carrier and data on sub-carriers.

The agreement mentions that the permission holder shall not be competent to grant a sub–permission directly or indirectly. However, the permission holder may resort to outsourcing of content production as well as leasing of content development equipment as long as it does not impact the permission holder’s right as FM broadcaster and enjoys complete control over the channel. The permission holder will be fully responsible for any violations or omissions of the stipulated provisions with regard to the content.



As per the agreement, the permission holder may hire or lease broadcasting equipments on long-term basis as long as it does not impact permission holder’s right as FM Radio broadcaster and enjoys complete control over the channel. However, the permission holder will be fully responsible for any violation of the stipulated technical parameters.

The permission holder will not enter into any borrowing or lending arrangement with other permission holders or entities except recognised financial institutions and its related entities, which may restrict its management or creative discretion to procure or broadcast content or its marketing rights.

It will be the responsibility of the permission holder to ensure that there is no linkage between a party from whom a programme is outsourced and an advertising agency.

The holder will also have to ensure that no content, messages, advertisement or communication, transmitted in its broadcast channel is objectionable, obscene, unauthorised or inconsistent with the laws of India.

The Government will have the right to temporarily suspend permission of the permission holder in public interest or for national security for such period or periods as it may direct. The company shall immediately comply with any directives issued in this regard failing which the permission issued shall be revoked and the company disqualified to hold any such permission in future for a period of five years.

The total direct and indirect foreign investment including portfolio and foreign direct investments into the company has been capped at 26 per cent.

In the event of the government announcing a new cross-media policy, the permission holder will have to conform to this within six months.

The permission holder will follow the same programme and advertisement codes as followed by All India Radio (AIR) or any other applicable code, which the Central Government may prescribe from time to time.

Additionally, the permission holder will be permitted to carry the news bulletins of AIR in the exact same format on such terms and conditions as may be mutually agreed with Prasar Bharati. No other news and current affairs programs have been permitted under the Phase III policy.

The broadcast pertaining to the categories to be treated as non-news and current affairs broadcast and therefore permissible include information pertaining to sporting events, excluding live coverage. However live commentaries of sporting events of local nature may be permissible. Other coverage includes information pertaining to traffic and weather; coverage of cultural events, festivals; coverage of topics pertaining to examinations, results, admissions, career counseling; availability of employment opportunities; public announcements pertaining to civic amenities like electricity, water supply, natural calamities, health alerts etc. as provided by the local administration; and such other categories not permitted at present, that may subsequently be specifically permitted by the government.

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