Is Kejriwal an entertainment item now?

Either that, or Radio Mirchi could be rewriting norms for FM channels

GN BUREAU | December 2, 2014



Radio Mirchi, an FM radio channel from the Times of India group, will air a show in which Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief Arvind Kejriwal will answer questions from the audience. This, however, will arguably be in violation of the rules for private radio stations – they cannot broadcast anything related to news and current affairs.

According to announcements on air and on the channel’s Twitter handle, Kejriwal will appear in the #MirchiDialogue programme on December 3, from 7 am to 11 am, and take questions from the audience. Questions are welcome over email too.

It would be difficult to construe the content of this four-hour show as anything other than current affairs. For information, FM channels can air only music and entertainment, and in case they air news, it is mandatory that they take the feed from the All India Radio.

The restrictions regarding news and current affairs are specified in the ‘Policy Guidelines of FM Radio Services (Phase II & Phase III)’ as below:

“Para 11. News and Current Affairs Programmes:

11.1 The permission holder will be permitted to carry the news bulletins of All India Radio in exactly same format (unaltered) on such terms and conditions as may be mutually agreed with Prasar Bharati, No other news and current affairs programs are permitted under the Policy (Phase-III)”

All the stuff that is not news is also clearly defined, and apparently the AAP chief’s replies ahead of the assembly elections in Delhi do not fall under any of these categories:

“11.2 The broadcast pertaining to the following categories will be treated as non-news and current affairs broadcast and will therefore be permissible:

(a) Information pertaining to sporting events excluding live coverage. However live commentaries of sporting events of local nature may be permissible;

(b) Information pertaining to traffic and weather;

(c) Information pertaining to and coverage of cultural events, festivals;

(d) Coverage of topics pertaining to examinations, results, admissions, career counseling;

(e) Availability of employment opportunities;

(f) Public announcements pertaining to civic amenities like electricity, water supply, natural calamities, health alerts etc. as provided by the local administration;

(g) Such other categories not permitted at present that may subsequently be specifically permitted by ministry of information and broadcasting from time to time.”

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