The popular but cash-strapped FM radio companies may not benefit from the huge advertisement budgets of various political parties during the national elections.
The information and broadcasting ministry has rejected an appeal by the private FM radio stations to allow airing advertisements of political parties during the elections.
According to sources, the private FM radio companies had approached the government to seek its permission to air advertisements by political parties before and during the general elections 2004.
The election were expected to be a great opportunity for the private FM radio companies as political parties were expected to utilise the new advertising mode to woo voters.
Government has told the FM radio companies that airing of political advertisements is a violation to the license agreement.
Government sources said that information and broadcasting ministry has informed the FM radio companies about their decision a couple of weeks back.
As per the license agreement with the government, private FM radio companies are expected to follow the advertising code followed by the All India Radio.
The advertisement code followed by All India Radio does not permit advertisements by political parties on it.
Government sources said that it has taken this decision in consultation with the Election Commission.
According to government sources, the commission did not support private FM radio companies airing such advertisements.
“The FM radio companies have approached us for a permission for it as it was not allowed as part of the license agreement. We had consultations with the Election Commission and has taken this decision based on that,” said a senior government official.
Sources in various FM radio companies said that they have petitioned the government again to favorably consider their request.
“We expected elections to be a great opportunity for advertisements. Government has communicated to us about the decision. But we have appealed to the government again on this issue,” said a senior executive with an FM radio company.