Stations turning into political platforms, dishing out vulgarity: Director Information

Srinagar, Dec 20:

The government Thursday asked Deputy Commissioners (DC) of Srinagar and Jammu to take “necessary action” against FM stations for turning into “political platforms” and dishing out “vulgarity” in the name of entertainment.
The Directorate of Information today issued an order asking the DC Srinagar and the DC Jammu to take action against the FM stations in the light of guidelines framed by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.
In a letter to the DCs, the Director Information and Public Relations, Tariq Ahmed Zargar said FM stations had become “political podium” under the grab of entertainment and were broadcasting content that was “vulgar” in nature.
“It has come to the notice of State-level Content Monitoring Committee formed under the Cable Television Network (Regulation) Act 1995 that various private FM channels operating in J&K are airing programmes related to news and politics that include inviting politicians and bureaucrats on their talk shows. It has also been observed that FM stations have become political podium under the grab of entertainment. Moreover, the private FM channels are broadcasting content that is vulgar in nature,” the letter reads.
The letter said that broadcasting of such content “violates” the All India Radio Broadcast Code.
“Since broadcasting of such content violates the AIR Broadcast Code, as AIR Broadcast does not permit anything obscene or defamatory,” the letter said.
The letter said the Grant of Permission Agreement (GOPA) explicitly states that “no news and current affairs programme are permitted” on private FM channels.
“Now therefore taking cognisance of the reports about the mentioned violations, it is requested to take necessary action in the light of the guidelines framed by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India,” the letter reads.
As reported earlier, many listeners told Rising Kashmir that the FM stations had become news outlets under the garb of entertainment.
Civil society and religious leaders had also demanded that the government should either regulate the FM stations to their specific roles or shut them down.
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.
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.
Programme Coordinator of Radio Mirchi 98.3 Anees Zargar said their radio station had never violated any guidelines.
“Let there be an action against the radio stations that are violating the prescribed guidelines. Our radio station is strictly adhering to the rules and regulations,” Zargar said.
Cluster Programming Head of 93.5 Red FM, Abrar Zargar said they had not received any communication from the authorities about violating any guidelines.
Producer of 92.5 Big FM Junaid Rather refused to comment on the issue.
Muzaffar Shah of the 95.0 FM Tadka said, “Write whatever you want to write,” Shah said.
Meanwhile, DC Srinagar Syed Abid Rasheed Shah said, “Law will take its own course.”

Courtesy: Rising Kashmir