By Harsha Man Maharjan
A saying goes better late than never but better never late. We are making late in establishing a broadcasting authority. Now we are in chaos.
At last Information and Communication Ministry has decided to stop registering applications of new FM radio stations in Kathmandu. Nepal Samacharpatra informed this on 11 March 2007. This is good news.
We still lack an authentic institution to evaluate the applications. After April revolution of 2006, the ministry opened the process of providing license. And now it has provided licenses to 177 radio stations. Can you believe 37 of them are in Kathmandu? Can they survive? It seems that ministry has to do nothing with their survival. In lack of this authority Kantipur publication has got license to air 5 more FM radios in Birgunj, Nepalgunj, Bharatpur, Pokhara and Butwal.
In Nepal National Communication Policy 2049 v.s opened broadcasting sector to private sector. It did not propose the authority to manage and evaluate applications for FM radio stations. Even National Broadcasting Act 2049 v.s did not mention about this kind of authority.
Long -term Policy of Information and Communication Sector 2059 (2003) has urged government to established this authority. The Royal government after Feb 1 2005 coup tried to introduce a Broadcasting Authority Ordinance in early January 2006. Its main purpose was to stop FM radios from airing news, increasing license fee. It also had a provision of stopping three media: radio, tv, and print to an media organization. Due to the concerted effort of democratic forces the government needed to step back.
Even High Level Media Recommendation Commission 2006 recommended government to establish National Broadcasting Authority. Its duty, responsibility and rights are as follows:
• Issue operating license to broadcasting organization.
• Classify broadcast mediums and organizations.
• Evaluate the standard of materials used for broadcasting.
• Formulate frequency spectrum plan; implement the plan and monitor the implementation.
• Monitor the activities of broadcast companies.
• Formulate broadcast policy.
• Conduct other necessary works required for development and improvement of broadcast companies.
• The authority should hold the right to collect fees for its operation.