Millennium Post

Community Radio Forum lauds Sibal

After Millennium Post reported on Monday that the communications minister Kapil Sibal has decided to remove the fee for community radio stations altogether, the Community Radio Forum is overjoyed.

Read first report here.

On 6 July, National Advisory Council [NAC] member Aruna Roy had written a letter to Congress President Sonia where Roy highlighted the issue 'regarding the exorbitant fivefold license fee hike from Rs 19,700 to Rs 91,000 by the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology.' Rebuffing the suggestion of a five-fold hike, Sibal has waived off community radio station fees. 
Aruna Roy said, 'If our demands are met by the ministry then I will be very happy. Our demands that the fee should not be hiked at all are met then it will be wonderful.'

Speaking on this issue after they read this report in Millennium Post, Sajan Venniyoor, Founder Member, Community Radio Forum said, 'Everyone who read this news piece was absolutely thrilled, as some people were to even defy the ministry. Some in fact did as they didn’t send the new feed, in fact sent the old one instead. We had proposed the idea that there should be no license fee for community radio at all. It is a very good move, as it has brought joy to a lot of people.'

Osama Manzar from Digital Empowerment Forum remarked, 'I am very excited and was rather surprised that such fast action was taken because it was us only who had sent this petition, and it was presented by Aruna. It was strategic from the point of view that we wanted to make it go from  the right platform, the NAC. I am pleasantly surprised that action has been taken so fast. My argument was based on this fact that if air waves are free then why should we be charged for them? It is the right decision. I don’t consider it lesser than NREGA or RTI.'

Roy had mentioned in her letter about a similar petition sent to Gandhi by the community radio activist Stalin K. 'I would wait to see the notification from the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology. We had been pressing on the fact that no fee should be imposed on the community radio stations. But if no fee is being charged then it is great news. As Community Radio Forum's president I would appreciate and welcome the move,' mentioned Stalin K of Video Volunteers.
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