FM radios not entitled to act as media outlets: Director Information
Taking cognisance of a report on FM stations turning into political platforms and dishing out ‘vulgarity’ in the name of entertainment, the State government has asked Content Monitoring Committees at the State and district levels to file a detailed report on the matter.
The Directorate of Information held deliberation in this regard where it was concluded that as per the guidelines, FM stations were not entitled to air programmes related to politics that include calling politicians and bureaucrats on their talk shows.
Moreover, the content aired on these FM stations – with young boys and girls declaring their love in public, exchanging vulgar pleasantries, and dedicating songs to their soul-mates – was also discussed in the meeting.
Talking to Rising Kashmir, Secretary Information, Sarmad Hafeez said he had articulated to Director Information to make sure that FM stations follow the prescribed guidelines.
As reported earlier, many listeners told Rising Kashmir that the FM stations had become “political podiums” under the garb of entertainment, while others complained about the “vulgarity” being dished out in the name of infotainment.
Currently, four private radio stations - 92.7 Big FM, 93.5 Red FM, 95.0 FM Tadka and Radio Mirchi 98.3 FM - are playing in the Valley.
Director Information and Public Relations (DIPR), Tariq Ahmad Zargar said after taking cognizance of a report published in Rising Kashmir, the State and district-level monitoring committees were monitoring the content aired by FM stations and would submit the report in the upcoming days.
“As per the guidelines, the FM stations playing in the Valley are not entitled to indulge in political affairs and act as media outlets in the name of entertainment,” Zargar said. “The working committee at State and district level are now monitoring the functioning of these stations and will file the report.”
According to the guidelines, the private radio stations are allowed live coverage of sporting events and traffic, cultural events and weather information, which come under the non-news and current affairs category.
The guidelines include ensuring that content carried by private FM channels and Community Radio Stations operating in the district abide by the AIR Broadcast Code.
On September 2017, in order to monitor violation of the programme and advertisement codes under the Cable Television Networks Regulation (CTNR) Act, 1995 by private satellite television channels, AIR broadcast code by private FM channels and community radio station, the government accorded sanction to the re-constitution of Content Monitoring Committees at the State and district levels.
State level monitoring committee include Administrative Secretary, Information Department as Chairman, while representative of the Director General of Police, J&K, Secretary, Social Welfare Department, representative of Association for Social Welfare in India (ASHI), Kachi Chawni, Jammu, Shahid Rasool, the then Director, EMMRC, University of Kashmir, Dr Arti Bakshi, Professor and Head of the Department of Psychology, University of Jammu are its members. Similarly, Director, Information and Public Relations, J&K is the member secretary.
The committee is meant to bring to the notice of the State and Government of India any programmes affecting public order or causing resentment among any community.
The committee can take action as per the prescribed procedure to ensure the aired content is in conformity with the prescribed programme and advertisement codes.
Meanwhile, civil society and religious leaders demanded that government should either regulate the FM stations to their specific roles or shut them down.
Chairperson of Kashmir Centre for Social and Development Studies (KCSDS), Prof Hameeda Nayeem said no platform which is initially meant for entertainment should be utilised for political propagation.
“It is highly regrettable that these FM stations are indulging in politics and airing objectionable content in the name of infotainment,” she said. “Authorities should either regulate these stations or cancel their licenses.”
Deputy Grand Mufti of Kashmir, Mufti Nasir-ul-Islam also called upon the need of making the FM stations in the Valley accountable.
“Immorality cannot be called entertainment. There needs to be a system to check the functioning of FM stations,” he said.