TRAI moves Delhi High Court to regulate ads on news channels
News broadcasters had challenged the 12 minute per hour ad cap rule stating that it violates the right to freedom of speech and expression.
Based on a significant number of complaints, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on Monday moved to Delhi High Court against more than the prescribed amount of advertisements on news channels.
TRAI submitted an intervention application filed in a petition by the News Broadcasters Association (NBA) pending before the Delhi HC which is challenging rule 7(11) of Cable Television Network Rules, 1994 (CTN/Cable TV Rules). The court has sought responses from the NBA and the Central government on this TRAI plea.
The rule 7(11) sets a maximum limit of 12 minutes per hour for advertisements. Out of these 12 minutes, commercial ads can be shown for 10 minutes and for the remaining 2 minutes channels are allowed to show self-promotion ads.
News broadcasters challenged this ad cap rule stating that it violates the right to freedom of speech and expression guaranteed under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution and argued TRAI has no power to regulate or restrict the length of advertisements on television channels.
TRAI, in its intervention application, said that since the Cable Television Network Rules were passed by the parliament, the maximum duration of advertisements on TV channels can be regulated. The regulatory body also added that it is appearing before the court to protect the public interest.
The court has clubbed the NBA’s petition along with those already pending and sought responses from the central government and NBA on TRAI’s intervention application. This matter is now posted for the next hearing on December 23, 2021.
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