| 21 Feb 2024
No plans to censor private FM channels if they follow Programme and Ad Codes

NEW DELHI: While stressing that plans to place any curbs on spoofs or humorous programmes by private FM Radio channels are not currently being discussed, the Information and Broadcasting Ministry would prefer to see the record of proceedings of Parliament where the issue had been raised.

Ministerial sources told that there was no reason for any ban as long as the channels and radio jockeys follow the Programme and Ad Codes.

The sources, however, said that I and B Minister Prakash Javadekar had taken serious note of the reference made in this regard in Parliament last week by Member of Parliament and actor Jaya Bachchan.

The Minister had agreed with her and said this was a serious matter and said the Electronic Media Monitoring Centre is keeping a check on this.

The veteran actor-turned-politician had earlier told the Rajya Sabha, "They are absolutely objectionable, very bad and the latest thing is that they have started giving news of Parliament and they mimic a lot of MPs who have spoken. So, are you going to do something about it because this is really not palatable?"

Content on India's private FM stations is regulated by clause 11.2 of "grant of permission agreement" between radio firms and the Ministry. The rules prohibit disparaging comments on the President, governors and the judiciary and offending remarks on "political parties by name".

Trinamool Congress MP Derek O'Brien also raised the issue of some RJs being asked to retire at the age of 35, saying he could not understand what "great biological changes" happen after the prescribed age limit.

He was, however, told by Javadekar that the order had been stayed. The Minister recalled legendary radio host Ameen Sayani, whose voice enthralled All India Radio audiences for decades. "It has nothing to do with age," Javadekar added.