New Delhi: Qatar’s Minister of Culture and Sports Salah bin Ghanem Al Ali launched four new private radio stations for expat Indians in the country last week.
Indians make up the largest expatriate group in the country and these are the first radio stations from the sub-continent to be aired from Qatar.
Two of these stations, Malayalam 98.6 FM and Suno 91.7 FM will be airing programmes in Malayalam – which is spoken in the southern Indian state of Kerala.
The other two stations, Radio Olive 106.3 FM and One FM Radio 89.6 FM are in Hindi.
98.6 FM will broadcast between 5am and 11pm and will air music programmes, current affairs and talk shows, while Radio Suno 91.7 FM, another Malayalam radio service, promises on its website that “Malayalis in Qatar will never miss their home town as it brings love from God’s own country.”
Radio Olive and One FM – the Hindi stations, promise Bollywood songs and latest gossip to their listeners.
There are plans to launch more radio channels in the country in other languages such as English, French, Spanish and Filipino.
SheikhahNajla Al Thani, Director of Broadcasting Licensing Department at the Ministry, said the new channels will help these communities to know more Qatari news, culture and tradition and incorporate more in the local society.
Indian Ambassador to Qatar, P Kumaran, said that the new radio channels will help people understand each other and promote creative diversity in the country.
Speaking on the sidelines of the event, al-Ali said the coming phase will see the launch of new radio stations for other expatriate groups to reflect media freedom in Qatar, stressing that these channels are “completely independent in their content and directions”. He also stressed that Qatar is one of the easiest places to obtain such licences even in terms of fees, which are “very low and don’t hinder those interested in radio investment.”
He said there are several requests to launch new radio stations and these are currently being reviewed as there are not enough radio frequencies at the moment for the stations applied for, but there will be new technical solutions by 2018.
He also spoke of co-ordination between Es’hailSat — the Qatar Satellite Company and different state institutions to support the private sector and launch new stations.