In the light of UK-based Indian nurse Jacintha Saldanha’s suicide provoked by a prank call from an Australian radio station, the Information and Broadcasting Ministry has advised FM radio channels against making unsolicited calls to people without their permission.
The ministry’s warning sent to FM channels on January 28 said, “It has also been brought to the notice of the MIB (the ministry) that some FM operators are making unsolicited calls to members of the public and disturbing their privacy by way of aggressive comments and conversation which are being broadcast without the individuals’ prior knowledge and consent.”
Many private FM channels across the country make prank calls to listeners, often at the behest of people known to them, and broadcast their personal details in the process.
Such calls violate the programme code and the advertisement code and any violation could attract punishment under the relevant clauses of the agreement, the advisory noted. The ministry’s electronic monitoring centre is also planning to monitor the FM channels for programme code violations.
The advisory further went on to warn the FM channels against commenting on the current affairs and news. “It has been noticed that the language used by many radio jockeys is sometimes indecent, offensive and aggressive.”
The advisory reminded the FM operators that Saldanha’s death underscored the importance of curbing such calls.