New Delhi: Batting for expansion of the community radio network, Information and Broadcasting Minister Arun Jaitley on Monday said radio is an instrument of the future and there cannot be a better idea to provide listeners the right to information and knowledge than this medium.
He also observed that the "myth" that airways was the monopoly of the state has been broken now.
Addressing the '5th National Community Radio Sammelan' Jaitley said, "Over two decades ago, the state had the misconceived notion that airways is the monopoly of the state. That myth itself was broken. I have nostalgic memory of how this was broken having been twice in the ministry of Information and Broadcasting.
"Before that I was privy in my position as a lawyer to shake that view that the state had a monopoly. The right belongs to people. That law came later and today it belongs to people. All of you are expressing that idea and I am glad that the expansion of that idea is taking place fast," he said.
Congratulating winners of the award for innovative contribution in the field of community radio, the Union Minister said the idea of community radio in most parts of the country had been a "wonderful idea".
"And it's an idea that should expand. The reasons are very clear," Jaitley said delving on the issue as to whom does the right of free speech expressed from radio really belong.
"Part truth is that it belongs to the broadcaster, it belongs to the person who expresses himself. The full truth is that it belongs also to the listener because he has a right to information, right to knowledge, he has a right to receive the dissemination of facts.
"And there can't be a better idea than community radio for the full and effective implementation of that," the Union Minister said batting strongly for the medium.
Sharing recommendations made by TRAI in this regard, I& B Secretary Vimal Julka said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has laid lot of emphasis on community radio.
"His 'Maan Ki Baat' has reached the remotest corner of the country...Community radio is one of the best tool to empower rural communities that seldom find voice in mainstream media...With the expansion of community radio, I won't be surprised, the public broadcasting will also have to compete with this sector in times to come," he said.
The ministry has already issued 400 odd permissions for community radio centres all over the country in 29 states and 7 Union territory out of which 179 community radio stations are operational.
"With regard to simplification of procedure which we are undertaking from time to time....We proposed to go online as far as this medium is concerned," he said.