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Private FM news content comes under microscope

Our Bureau

New Delhi , Aug. 18

AFTER monitoring PTV and FTV, the Central Monitoring Services of the Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Ministry has been monitoring news content in private FM radio channels such as Radio Mirchi, 93.5 RED FM and Radio City Private FM .

This has been done after a complaint was received through the CEO of Prasar Bharati on June 11, 2002 regarding broadcasting of news and current affairs on private FM Channel in Mumbai. I&B Minister, Mr Ravi Shankar Prasad said in the Rajya Sabha that when the issue was taken up with the company, the latter said that this had happened inadvertently and measures were being taken to ensure that this is not repeated.

The Minister also said that presently private radio is not permitted to broadcast news and current affairs. He further added that this monitoring is being done to ensure that the terms and conditions of licence agreement are adhered to.

Replying to questions in Rajya Sabha, the Minister said that in order to check piracy, the Government has set up a Core Group to consider amendments to the Copyright Act and consider retention/deletion/modification in Section 52 (1) (i) of the Copyright Act 1957.

Replying to a question by Mr N.P. Durga in Rajya Sabha on Monday, Mr Prasad said the nodal Ministry for the Copyright Act, 1957 is the Ministry of Human Resource Development. The Minister said that in 1999, the Copyright Division started the exercise of amending the Copyright Act, mainly to bring it in consonance with WIPO Copyright Treaty 1996 and WIPO Performance and Phonogram Treaty, 1996 and the TRIPS Agreement.

Mr Prasad said that there is no unanimous view of the entire music industry on Section 52 (1) of the Copyright Act.

Meanwhile on the issue of direct-to-home (DTH) broadcasting, the Minister said it was not possible to indicate the time frame within which the platform would become operational. According to the DTH guidelines issued in March, 2001 the licensee is required to establish and complete the installation of the uplink earth station in India including monitoring facility.

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