New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the government to consider allowing private FM radio stations, including community radio, to broadcast news that is already in the public domain.
“If they can broadcast news from All India Radio then why not other licenced operators in print and electronic media?” the court asked.
A bench comprising chief justice J.S. Khehar, justices N.V. Ramana and D.Y. Chandrachud was hearing a 2013 public interest litigation filed by non-profit Common Cause seeking directions for allowing private radio stations and community radios to broadcast news.
The Centre sought six weeks time to respond to the court’s query.
Senior advocate Jayant Bhushan, appearing on behalf of the petitioner, argued that a blanket ban on private radio stations and community radios broadcasting news amounts to a violation of freedom of speech and expression.
“The ban is basically to protect the government’s monopoly in disseminating news,” Bhushan said.
Responding to the plea, the Centre had argued that the ban on private radio stations was imposed considering national security. “Anti-nationals can misuse it to propagate their issues,” the government’s lawyer argued in court.
The case will be heard next after 6 weeks.