TRAI releases recommendation on CR Stations, allows news from AIR

In a recommendation made to the Community Radio Stations, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), has allowed the broadcast of current affairs and news from the All India Radio in an unadulterated form or its translation in local languages. The move will bring cheers to those who have been long demanding the inclusion of news and current affairs.

The Authority also says that the existing duration of license for CR stations should be extended to five years. The applications for renewal would be required to be submitted in the fourth year of the licensed period.

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MoIB) has been asked to develop a performance rating format for CR stations in consultation with different stakeholders.

The Community Radio Facilitation Centre (CRFC) may also be considered as an option to route the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) funds of local companies to CR stations, particularly those located in remote and rural areas.

A Community Radio Station should also be expected to provide evidence of a social audit four months prior to the date of renewal of the license.

The TRAI also recommended that the duration of advertisements on a CRS should remain unchanged at five-minutes-per-hour.

While appreciating the self-evaluation process for the renewal of the existing license, Vinod Pavarala, UNESCO Chair on Community Media, underlined that while the initial evaluation is of basic nature, the second evaluation carried out in the 9th year is more rigorous.

The regulator also asked the ministry to work with the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and the Wireless Planning Coordination (WPC) for issuing detailed guidelines to be followed by CR stations during disasters.

Author: Ruby Rani/OneWorld