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FM stations in India ‘must be’ allowed to air news, said Prasar Bharati chief

Prasar Bharati Chairman A Surya Prakash made the comment taking into consideration that government had recently auctioned frequency bandwidth for a few hundred new FM channels.

He added allowing private FM stations to air news might have security implications and that the government needs to keep that in mind if it wants to give the nod. From democracy point of view, the idea of allowing them to do so looks “very simple” and “must be done”, but given the diversity and internal security concerns of India, which also has thousands of kilometres of borders, the move has a “lot of implications,” he said.

Noting that new FM channels are going to come in as a few months ago the government had auctioned frequency bandwidth for a few hundreds of them, he said, “You need to seriously ponder over this (whether to allow FM channels to air news) before you take that step.”

While it’s true that private television channels have been allowed to telecast news and current affairs programmes, radio has a “different audience, different kind of reach and there are lot of issues about them”, he said.