MIB warns FM radio stations against criminal penalties for broadcasting vulgar content

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) has ordered FM radio stations to strictly abide by the Permission Granting Agreement (GOPA) and refrain from broadcasting vulgar and objectionable content. The ministry also warned FM radio stations of criminal penalties if they did not comply with the instructions.

“The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, in the exercise of powers deriving from GOPA, hereby advises all FM radio stations to strictly abide by the terms and conditions prescribed therein and not to broadcast any content in violation of these. All channels must exercise discretion and restraint in the broadcast of such content, “said the MIB in its direction.

“Strict adherence to the above directive must be ensured by all FM radio stations. Any violation will result in criminal action deemed appropriate in accordance with the terms and conditions set out in GOPA,” he added.

The ministry noted that several FM radio stations broadcast vulgar and objectionable content with radio jockeys using indecent language. “The MIB has learned that vulgar and objectionable content is very often broadcast on several FM radio channels. It has also been noticed that the language used by many radio jockeys is indecent and offensive and has a double meaning. They often do defamatory and derogatory comments that do not appear to be in good taste.”

The MIB said the broadcast of vulgar and offensive content is in clear violation of clauses 7.6 and 11.1 of GOPA signed by FM radio stations with the Government of India.

In accordance with clause 7.6 of GOPA, the license holder shall ensure that no content, message, advertisement or communication transmitted on its broadcast channel is objectionable, obscene, unauthorized or inconsistent with Indian laws.

Further, clause 11.1 of GOPA provides that the license holder shall follow the same program and advertising code as followed by All India Radio as amended from time to time or any other applicable code, which the central government may prescribe from time to time.

Clause 25.3 of the GOPA provides that in the event that the licensee breaches any of the terms and conditions of the license or any other provision of the FM Radio Policy, the licensor shall have the right to impose penalties for suspension of authorization and prohibition of broadcast as prescribed therein, the ministry said.

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