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India clears 115 community radio stations for operation

India Ministry of Information and BroadcastingIndia’s broadcast regulator, which keeps close tabs on its community radio stations, has given permission to 115 of them to continue operating. They received notice of a list of  Grant of Permission Agreements (GOPAs) on August 29. These allow the mentioned organizations to continue running through their license period or up to December 31 or this year, whichever date comes earlier.

It’s worth perusing the GOPA document to get a sense of India’s content requirements for community signals. Quite a list, I think. Note this provision: “The permission holder shall not broadcast any programmes, which relate to news and current affairs and are otherwise political in nature.”

Here is most the relevant section (I grabbed this off a pdf and apologize for any errors):

“5. Content regulation & monitoring

The permission holder shall adhere to the following principles in the broadcast of programmes through the CRS (community radio service):

Radio Rights Watchi) The programmes should be of immediate relevance to the community. The emphasis should be on developmental, agricultural, health, education, environment, social welfare, community development and cultural programmes. The programming should reflect the special interests and needs of the local communitv.

ii) At least 50% of content shall be generated with the participation of the local community, for which the station has been set up.

iii) Programmes should preferably be in the local language and dialects.

iv) The permission holder shall have to adhere to the provisions of the Programme and Advertising Code as prescribed for All Indla Radio.

v) The permission holder shall not broadcast any programmes, which relate to news and current affairs and are otherwise political in nature.

vi) The Permission horder shall ensure that nothing is included in the programmes broadcast which: a. Offends against good taste or decency; b. Contains criticism of friendly countries; c. contains attack on religions or communities or visuals or words contemptuous of religious groups or which either promote or result in promoting communal discontent or disharmony; d. Contains anything obscene, defamatory, deliberate, false and suggestive innuendoes and half truths; e. ls likely to encourage or incite violence or contains anything against maintenance of law and order or which promote anti-national attitudes; f. Contains anything amounting to contempt of court g. Contains anything affecting the integrity of the Nation; h. contains aspersions against the dignity of the President, Vice President and the Judiciary; i. Criticises, maligns or slanders any individual in person or certain groups, segments of social, public and moral life of the country; j. Encourages superstition or blind belief; k. Denigrates women; l. Denigrates children; m. May present/depict/suggest as desirable the use of drugs including alcohol, narcotics and tobacco or may stereotype, incite, vilify or perpetuate hatred against or attempt to demean any person or group on the basis of ethnicity, nationality, race, gender, sexuai preference, reiigion, age, or physical or mental disability.”

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