The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) has issued a new advisory on public service broadcasting obligations for private broadcasters. As per the guidelines, private broadcasters must air 30 minutes of public service content daily.
The ministry said that it has released this advisory after conducting thorough consultations with private satellite TV channel broadcasters and their associations, to provide clarity on what can be considered as public service broadcasting content. The content can be embedded in the programs itself and also does not need to be broadcast in a single 30-minute segment, it can be spread over smaller time slots.
Giving relief to broadcasters, the ministry has permitted sharing of content and repeat telecasts of public service content among TV channels. Content broadcast during commercial breaks will also not be counted towards the 12-minute commercial advertisements limit.
The themes notified earlier for the public service content were 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 cultural heritage and national integration. In this list, MIB has now added water conservation and disaster management too.
To comply with the guidelines, broadcasters are required to submit a monthly report of their public service content through the Broadcast Seva Portal. Additionally, a common e-platform may be created to showcase relevant videos and textual content of public service broadcasting.
It is important to note that public service content cannot be broadcast between midnight and 6 am since very few people watch television during those hours and the messages won’t reach a wider audience. Apart from that, both broadcasters and the Electronic Media Monitoring Centre under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting must keep a record of the content for a period of 90 days.