Low advertisement rates for community radio shameful : Ambika Soni

New Delhi : Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni Thursday said the low government advertisement rates for community radio stations were “shameful” and her ministry was considering setting up a fund to encourage such radio stations.

Inaugurating the first national community Radio Sammelan (conference) here, Soni said the Directorate of Advertising and Visual Publicity (DAVP) rates for advertisement on community radio were “shameful”.

She said a committee has been set up under the economic advisor to the ministry to work out revised rates. Community radio stations that generate their funds through people’s participation would be encouraged, she added.

Soni said the ministry was also keen to set up a community radio fund.

The minister said some UN organisations have created community radio funds and her ministry was keen to pursue a similar model.

She said that the amount given under the MPLADS (Member of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme) has been increased to Rs.5 crore annually and modalities could be worked out about some part of the fund being used to set up community radio stations.

Soni also inaugurated a poster exhibition that profiles proficiency of the community radio stations in the country.

Ministry officials said steps have been taken to create awareness through state level workshops and 216 new applications for community radios had been received in the last one year.

The conference, which will continue till Saturday, will see discussions on issues concerning policy, quality of content, strategies to engage community in programme production, funding and encouraging local talent.

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