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TDSAT's notice to govt on alleged ad violations by channels

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

The Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) today issued notice to the government over alleged violation of the Rules by the broadcasters which permits only 12 minutes advertisement in a Television programme of one hour.

The broadcast tribunal issued notice seeking response from the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting over the alleged violation of the Rules.

The bench headed by its chairman Justice S B Sinha directed the government to file its reply within two weeks and listed the matter on February 14, for next hearing.

Tribunal's direction came over the plea of an NGO 'Utsarg', alleging violation by all leading broadcasting houses and channels by exceeding the limits of the commercial timing in their TV programmes.

"Twelve minutes per hour is the maximum duration for telecasting the advertisements but almost all the broadcasters operating in India are violating the same," said the NGO in its petition filed by its counsel Vikram Singh.

It further submitted that despite the broadcasting houses getting the subscription amount for their channels from their subscribers, both in addressable (DTH and IPTV) and non-addressable platform (Cable network), they were violating the guidelines.

The NGO further submitted that it was very cruel on the part of the channels to totally ignore the interests of the viewers, by not giving complete telecast of the Live cricket matches and other programme, "just to make more money".

The NGO also alleged that during the telecast of one programme, the advertisement of some other programme also blocks the TV screen.

It further said that almost half of screen is blocked with advertisements in some of the local cable TV Channels.

"While telecast of one programme, ...Advertisement of some other programme also blocks the TV screen which is in complete violation of the Rules.

"...In the Local Cable TV Channels, almost half the screen is blocked with some or the other advertisements and Government and the Regulating Authority is just acting as a Silent Spectator since very long," the NGO said.

It further said that the broadcasters cannot be expected and allowed to violate the 'Rules and Downlinking' guidelines so much so to irritate and punish the viewers with forced advertisements when they are watching their favourite programmes.

The petitioner also sought direction to centre to formulate a policy and set up an organisation to implement and check violation of the Rules.

First Published: Mon, January 17 2011. 19:20 IST