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I&B ministry frowns at FM RJs making prank calls

PTI  New Delhi, February 12, 2013
First Published: 23:25 IST(12/2/2013) | Last Updated: 23:26 IST(12/2/2013)

Taking strong exception to certain private FM radio stations making unsolicited calls to people and invading their privacy, the information and broadcasting ministry has asked these operators to refrain from such pranks.

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"It has also been brought to the notice of MIB that some FM operators are making unsolicited calls to members of the public and disturbing their privacy by the way of aggressive comments and conversation which are being broadcast without the prior knowledge and consent of these individuals," the ministry said in an advisory issued here.

Such acts of making prank calls, which violate the privacy of individuals cannot be permitted since these violate the programme code and the advertisement code prescribed in the Grant of Permission Agreement (GOPA), the ministry said.

"The recent sad death of a nurse of Indian origin in a London hospital allegedly because of a prank call from an Australian FM station underscores the importance of curbing such unsolicited verbal pursuit of private individuals by FM channels since these can have tragic and unforeseen consequences," it said.

The advisory also said that all private FM Broadcasters are aware of the clauses under GOPA which provide that the permission holder should follow the same programme and advertisement code as followed by All India Radio.

The ministry asked private FM channels to adhere to all the clauses of GOPA in letter and spirit failing which there could be action as per the rules.

The ministry also said that it had come to its notice that despite signing of GOPA which prohibits broadcast of objectionable, obscene, unauthorised matter inconsistent with the laws was sometimes broadcast on private FM radio channels.

The ministry also added that it had noticed that the language used by many radio jockeys is sometimes indecent, offensive and aggressive.

Comments on current affairs and news that are meant to bypass the provision of the GOPA are being made by some stations, the advisory further said.


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