Minister for Information and Public Relations of the Indian state of Bihar Sanjay Kumar Jha has drawn the attention of the Central Government to stop the frequency effect of Nepali FM radio in his territory.
According to a report published in Hindustan Times on Monday, Jha called on Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur on Sunday and demanded immediate steps to curb the influence of Nepali radios. He informed about the problems created due to the content broadcast by Nepali FM in the border area. He also urged the central government to formulate an action plan to curb the influence of Nepali FMs in his state.
Minister Jha had said that the problem had arisen due to the easy access of Nepali FM and other frequencies to various districts of Bihar.
Nepali radios has access to broadcast programs, especially in many districts of North Bihar. He suggested the option of stopping the expansion of Nepali FMs by increasing the access, speed and expansion of All India Radio Station.
As there are more than 3 million Maithili people in the area, Jha also suggested that programs in the same language should be made an alternative to Nepali FM. He was of the view that the expansion of Nepali FMs could be stopped if the duration of Maithili language programs was extended to more people.
The state of Bihar has from time to time raised objections to the content of Nepali FMs. This issue was also raised by the Indian side during the blockade in 2015. The leaders of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand also drew the attention of the central government to the content broadcast by Nepali FMs after the release of a new map covering the territory encroached by India last year.
At that time, he had informed the Central Government that Nepali FM had broadcast propaganda against India. Nepali FMs had broadcast various materials urging to return Kalapani, Lipulek and Limpiyadhura.
The state of Bihar has from time to time raised objections to the content of Nepali FMs. This issue was also raised by the Indian side during the blockade in 2015.
Similarly, during the election, high officials of Bihar state express interest in the content of Nepali FM. During the election from village to center in Bihar, Nepali FMs broadcast news and other special content.
Nepali FMs are very popular in Bihar because of the issues that are not raised or cannot be raised by the media in Bihar. On the other hand, the leaders and officials of Bihar seem to be dissatisfied as Nepali FMs have raised the issue of ban in Bihar.
Especially during the election, there have been complaints that candidates in Bihar are influencing voters by advertising on Nepali radios. Nepali FM is also cheap in terms of advertising costs and has access to more than 100 constituencies.
Govinda Devkota, former general secretary of the Community Radio Broadcasters Association and executive director of Narayani FM Birgunj, says, ‘Nepali FMs have good access to cross-border geography. What is happening in India, what kind of policy has been brought by the government there has been a matter of great interest for Nepali FMs. ‘
Devkota says, ‘Our FM also gives high priority to political and other activities there. The issues raised by the Bihar government are raised by the media here, so Nepali FM is also popular across the border. ‘
For some time now, India has been moving ahead with the process of controlling Nepali FMs. However, stakeholders say that the government of Nepal should think about this issue in time as any policy taken by India will seriously affect Nepali FMs at the border in the future.
To reduce the growing influence of Nepali MMs, in 2019, the Central Government of India decided to increase FM coverage on the Nepal-India border by installing seven MM transmitters in the premises of the Armed Border Force.
Devkota says the Nepali government should register the FM frequency with the ITU before India takes any action. “The government of Nepal has not accommodated our frequency in ITU. However, India has adjusted its frequency.
As soon as India starts broadcasting tomorrow, Nepal’s FM radios will stop listening. The second issue is that he may block Nepali radio in his area and our broadcast may be blocked. He says, ‘It can create a difficult situation in many places in the border areas of Nepal. There is a fear that he may make a decision at any time, disrupting our broadcast. Which must be resolved immediately. ‘
A senior official of the Ministry of Communications and Technology claimed that no such complaint has been received from India so far. The official said, “Once upon a time, this problem was solved at the local level. In the future, if India affects Nepali FM through any powerful broadcast, we can solve it. Because there is no broadcasting that can affect the FM operating in the territory of another country. ‘