New broadcast guidelines: 30 minutes of public service broadcasting

Government issues an advisory regarding guidelines that will be effective March 1

NEW DELHI | Updated: 31 January, 2023 1:54 am IST
The government has also allowed sharing of content between the broadcasters and repeat telecasts on one or several television channels

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting on January 30 issued an advisory regarding guidelines which mandate private broadcasters to undertake public service broadcasting for 30 minutes every day.

The advisory, titled ‘Guidelines for Uplinking and Downlinking of Television Channels in India’ dated November 9, 2022, says, “Guidelines, among other things, require private broadcasters to undertake public service broadcasting for 30 minutes every day.”

This advisory comes after extensive consultations with the private satellite TV channel broadcasters and their associations.

“The relevant content embedded in the programmes being telecast can be accounted for Public Service Broadcasting. It is also clarified that the content need not be 30 minutes at a stretch and could be spread over smaller time slots,” the ministry said.

It also cautioned private broadcasters not to transmit such content from midnight to 6 am. The ministry also identified themes for the broadcasting, “It should comprise content of national importance and social relevance, including education and the spread of literacy; agriculture and rural development; health and family welfare; science and technology; the welfare of women; the welfare of the weaker sections of society; protection of the environment and cultural heritage; and national integration.”

The I&B ministry advisory also asks the broadcaster to submit a monthly report online on the Broadcast Seva Portal.

“Broadcasters shall include a compliance certificate in the annual report. Foreign channels, downlinking in India (in languages other than those specified in the Eighth Schedule of the Indian Constitution), shall be exempt from the obligation… 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,” it clarified.

The “Advisory” seeks to achieve the objective of Public Service Broadcasting through private satellite TV channels through voluntary compliance and self-certification.

It asked the broadcasters to keep a record of the content telecast for 90 days and said that the Electronic Media Monitoring Center, which functions under the Ministry, would also do the same.

“The private satellite TV channels are accordingly advised to report public service broadcasting… with effect from March 1, 2023,” the ministry said.

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