Private FM radio stations will soon be allowed to broadcast news, after an "in principle" approval from information and broadcasting minister Prakash Jadavekar. However, the FM stations will have to source their news from All India Radio and news wires, Press Trust of India.
Javadekar told PTI that representatives of FM Radio stations had met him and he had told them that he had no objection to allow them to broadcast news. Javadekar said he has given "in principle" approval for broadcast of news on private FM Radio and a decision in this regard would be taken soon.
The previous UPA government, while approving norms for the ambitious phase-III expansion of FM radio, had approved news bulletins of AIR on private radio. The minister said stations would also have the option of sourcing their news from PTI.
"There is an option. We can give you an option. If you are taking it from PTI, it's an option," Javadekar said as having told the FM channel heads.
"So that's how we are discussing. We will arrive at a decision soon. But, my heart goes that news should be there also," he said.
The ministry plans to bring over 200 more cities covered by private FM channels under the phase III expansion. About 800 FM channels will be auctioned across these cities.
Last year, the Supreme Court had heard a public interest litigation challenging the prohibition on news bulletins on private FM radio channels and had also issued notices to the centre.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India and an expert committee of the government have already recommended that radio channels be allowed to broadcast such content.