Examining the Constitutionality of the Ban on Broadcast of News by Private FM and Community Radio Stations
National Law University of Delhi Journal of Legal Studies 2019
20 Pages Posted: 26 Oct 2021
Date Written: September 27, 2019
In 1995, the Supreme Court declared airwaves to be public property in the seminal case of The Secretary, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting v Cricket Association of Bengal, and created the stepping stones for liberalization of broadcasting media from government monopoly. Despite this, community radio and private FM channels, in their nearly two decades of existence, have been unable to broadcast their own news content because of the Government’s persisting prohibition on the same. In this paper, we document the historical developments surrounding the issue, and analyse the constitutional validity of this prohibition on the touchstone of the existing jurisprudence on free speech and media freedom. Additionally, we also propose an alternative regulatory framework which would assuage the government’s apprehensions regarding radicalisation through radio spaces, as well as ensure that the autonomy of these stations is not curtailed.
Keywords: constitutional law, community radios, freedom of speech and expression, news
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