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Govt to monitor content broadcast on FM radio stations

October 22, 2012 14:43 IST

The government is planning to set up a facility that will monitor the programme content that is broadcast on FM Radio stations during the 12th five year plan.

Information and Broadcasting Secretary Uday Kumar Varma said there was a need to monitor radio content as nearly 800 more FM channels are likely to come up in the next couple of years.

Speaking at a function at the Electronic Media Monitoring Centre (EMMC), he said, "The whole world of monitoring of radio content is still to be handled and addressed in a meaningful manner. We do have a mechanism but I think we need to keep that mechanism evolving. With 800 plus FM channels expected to come in next one to three years, there will be quite a handful that will need to be addressed".

He said private channels in the coming days would get permission to broadcast news which makes the need to monitor content important.

"They will begin with AIR news but local news in any case, they may be allowed to generate and broadcast and that would have several manifestations which will need to be monitored," Varma said.

Later speaking to PTI, Ranjana Dev Sarmah, Director EMMC said the content monitoring body was planning to expand its operations to include radio content and increase the number of television channels.

"During the 12th five year plan period, we intend to set up the mechanism to monitor radio content as per the I&B ministry's instructions," Sarmah said.

"We also plan to increase the number of TV channels which are monitored from the current 300 to up to 1200 in the coming days," he said.

The EMMC is a department under the I&B ministry which monitors TV content round-the-clock and reports violations of rules and also carries out analysis.

Earlier in his speech, the I&B secretary said EMMC was presently confined to satellite transmission but with the onset of digitisation of cable services, new technologies could be looked into to see what content goes into the cable viewers' homes.

Varma said that analysis of television content was another challenge that faced the EMMC.

"It is good to know which channel is transmitting what kind of programme....which channel is the one which actually uses maximum time for advertisements on may be weekly basis or half yearly basis," he said.

"What kind of rural reporting the channels actually resort to in terms of their overall time devoted to matters which relate to the villages of India or developmental dimensions of the country...may be women, may be children or may be physically challenged and then there are sensitive analysis from the political point of view," Varma added.

Secretary I&B said that the EMMC could set up its own Research and Analysis Wing which could be known as EMMC - RAW.

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