Mumbai:The broadcasting code for radio jockeys has been clear, no politics. Even news readers in radio have not been permitted to poke fun at certain entertainers from the film industry. Despite these restrictions in place, radio has managed to grow across India as per data from the IRS 2012, second quarter. It has an estimated audience of 15.8 crore people.
Apart from discussing issues that are in news, RJs use their voices in different manners, mimicry being one of the most common forms. But now this too may have some restrictions imposed on it, according to recent proceedings in the Rajya Sabha. Information and Broadcasting minister, Prakash Javadekar told in the Rajya Sabha recently, that it will take action against radio jockeys on FM channels, airing jokes on MPs, mimicking them or indulging in wisecracks with ‘double-meaning’. Samajwadi Party MP Jaya Bachchan had raised the issue in the Rajya Sabha demanding action against such RJs.
Responding to these directives, RJ Balaji from Big FM says cryptically, “When I was a teenager I would fight with my sister for a room. Today parliamentarians are doing the same thing, fighting like teenagers. How can I not make fun of them?” He fears that soon they will ban television anchors, like Rajdeep Sardesai and Arnab Goswami, too. “When I entertain my listeners, I don’t use vulgar terms. Action should be taken against media professionals, who make fun of a politician’s family or personal life.”
John Justin, station head, Radio One, says that mimicking politicians or using double meaning terms is never done on his station. “We mimic well known artists, like Rajini or Kamal, and that too, only if necessary. We have very clearly demarcated lines, and we don’t cross them,” he says.
Radio Jockey and musician Suchitra, who is currently doing a show on Radio Mirchi, says this is a grey area. “While I love the American culture of irreverence and the fact that nothing is sacred I am that way too ours is a country with way too many cultural sensibilities. The law, however, is unacceptable. Nobody is going to crack a joke at the expense of their own safety or that of the radio station. I am a radio jockey and I can vouch for the fact that my contemporaries are a fairly sorted, responsible lot.”