In a recent open house discussion held by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), private FM radio broadcasters reiterated their demand to be allowed to transmit news and current affairs content.
India currently prohibits private radio broadcasters from publishing their own news, which is a rare restriction in democracies.
Representatives from various radio firms spoke during the discussion, stating that not allowing news on private radio channels is crippling the industry.
They argued that while print, television, and digital media are allowed to publish news, radio is left out. Radio stations in neighboring countries like Nepal and Bangladesh have been free to transmit news for ages, which makes India's restriction even more puzzling.
Uday Chawla, the Secretary General of the Association of Radio Operators of India (AROI) said, ““If India wants to be a vishwaguru, and also a beacon of democracy, it is strange” to not allow news on private radio channels.”
Moreover, Chawla highlighted that radio stations in countries like Nepal and Bangladesh had been “free for ages” to transmit news.