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Opening of news, current affairs on FM ruled out

01-January-2001
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Opening of news, current affairs on FM ruled out

INFORMATION and broadcasting minister Sushma Swaraj on Sunday ruled out opening up of news and current affairs programmes on FM radio to private players, making it clear that FM bids were invited only for entertainment. Swaraj, who played a key role in the grant of industry status to the film sector, also expressed concern over links between the underworld and Bollywood. The minister, in an interaction with senior journalists, expressed views on various issues including foreign equity in print media, Prasar Bharati, censorship, downsizing of the ministry and Women's Reservation Bill. "It was a revolutionary step to open up FM radio to private players.....But it will only be for entertainment. News and current affairs will continue to remain with AIR," she said, adding that the second phase of FM bids for 70 stations would be launched soon. Referring to the controversy surrounding Bollywood superstar Hrithik Roshan, which stirred anti-India passions in Nepal, Swaraj said there was "some very big conspiracy." "Hrithik has already denied and has even challenged people to show him the bite," she said and added that Nepal's administration also concluded that he had not made the controversial remarks and responded positively to the Prime Minister's appeal. Swaraj said the government gave industry status to films so that "good money will lead to good cinema." "The ball is in their (industry's) court," she said.

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