The Information & Broadcasting Minister Shri Prakash Javadekar has called upon Community Radio (CR) stations spread across the country to play a pro-active role in creating awareness about COVID 19 in remotest parts of the country.
Addressing nearly 300 community radio stations as part of a special outreach initiative, Shri Javadekar described community radios as ‘agents of change’ and said Government will come out with a plan to increase the number of such stations soon.
The Minister said the Government is also eager to raise air time for advertisements on community radios to make their operations self-sustaining. “Community Radio stations are allowed air time of 7 minutes per hour for advertisements while the same is 12 minutes for TV channels. We are eager to give equal time to all radio stations so that there would no need for them to seek funds” he added.
Shri Javadekar said 75% of the expenditure during setting-up of Community Radio stations is borne by the Ministry, which constitutes the majority of the fixed expenditure. The revision of advertising time is expected to help community radio stations meet their operational expenditure to a large extent. To support Community Radio, the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting is implementing an ongoing scheme namely “Supporting Community Radio Movement in India” with an allocation of Rs. 25 Crores.
The Minister also touched upon the key demand of community radio of permission to broadcast news. He assured that he will consider allowing news broadcast on community radio the same way it is done on FM channels.
The Minister prodded stations to play a key role in combating fake news menace by verifying it through local sources. He invited stations to share it with All India Radio so that the reach of the truth can be amplified. Shri Javadekar added that the Ministry has created a Fact Check Cell under PIB and the Community Radios can play a complementary role.