What Modi govt’s advisory to private TV channels on airing content of ‘national importance’ says

What Modi govt’s advisory to private TV channels on airing content of ‘national importance’ says

Sports channels exempt from obligation of public service broadcasting, says I&B ministry. Broadcasters to submit monthly reports on Broadcast Seva Portal by 7th of each month.


Representative image | Pixabay

New Delhi: The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting released an advisory Monday stating that satellite television channels in India will be obligated to “undertake public service broadcasting for a minimum of 30 minutes in a day”. However, the 30-minute content can be divided in smaller slots, it adds.

This comes after several rounds of consultations “with the broadcasters and their associations”, according to the document shared by the ministry. Sports channels would be exempt “from the obligation of Public service Broadcasting”.

The Union government had approved guidelines in this regard in November last year.

Broadcasters have also been asked to submit a monthly report on the Broadcast Seva Portal “on or before the 7th day of the following month”. However, “the channels broadcasting predominantly (more than 12 hours) sports and devotional, spiritual, yoga content shall be exempt from furnishing the monthly reports on the Broadcast Seva Portal”, according to the advisory.

All private TV channels that are liable to comply with these rules will also have to ensure that there is a “record of the content telecast for the period of 90 days”. The Electronic Media Monitoring Centre, which comes under the ministry, will also keep a record of telecasts for 90 days.

According to the advisory, airwaves and frequencies used by broadcasters are public in nature and therefore need to be “used in the best interest of the society”.

The eight topics listed under “national importance and social relevance” are: education and spread of literacy, agriculture and rural development, health and family welfare, science and technology, welfare of women, welfare of the weaker sections of the society, protection of environment and of cultural heritage, and national integration.

Private TV channels were asked to “appropriately modulate their content to fulfil the obligation”. The central government also said that it will issue general advisories to channels in order to telecast content in “national interest”.

“The content can be shared between the broadcasters and could be repeat telecast on one/ several TV channels. A common e-Platform may be developed as a repository of relevant videos or textual content from various sources for the purpose of Public Service Broadcasting, which may be accessed and used by TV Channels,” the advisory adds.

The content does not necessarily have to be 30 minutes at stretch but can be divided in smaller slots, according to the document. But, “the time for which the Public Service Broadcasting content is telecast in between commercial breaks shall not be accounted for the 12 minute limit for commercial breaks”, the advisory added.

It also cautioned broadcasters to not transmit such content from midnight to 6:00 am.

An advisory of such nature by the ministry is not new. In a similar advisory for radio channels across India in July last year, it sought time for “national interest” content to be transmitted for an hour every day.

(Edited by Anumeha Saxena)

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