TRAI Moves Delhi HC Against Excessive Ads On News Channels

TRAI Moves Delhi HC Against Excessive Ads On News Channels

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has moved the Delhi High Court against excessive advertisements by news channels that go beyond 12-minutes per hour.

The court has hence sought replies from the News Broadcasters Association (NBA) and the Centre on TRAI's plea.

TRAI in its plea said that it has received several letters from consumers complaining about their viewer experience because of excessive ads on television channels. It filed an intervention application in a petition filed by NBA challenging rule 7(11) of Cable Television Network Rules, 1994 (CTN/Cable TV Rules).

The NBA however argued that the rule is ultra vires to the freedom of speech and expression guaranteed by the constitution.

According to rule 7(11), no TV channel can air more than 12 minutes of ads in a clock hour.

"No programme shall carry advertisements exceeding twelve minutes per hour, which may include up to ten minutes per hour of commercial advertisements and up to two minutes per hour of a channel's self-promotional programmes," the rule reads.

TRAI counsel Advocate Maneesha Dhir told the Bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh that it is already a respondent in a bunch of similar petitions challenging the Standards of Quality of Service (Duration of Advertisement in Television Channels) Regulations 2012 and Standards of Quality of Service (Duration of Advertisement in Television Channels)(Amendment) Regulation 2013.

Meanwhile, the new broadcasters challenged the ad cap regulation arguing that TRAI has no power to regulate the length of advertisement on TV channels and "regulating advertisement is nothing but regulating free commercial speech guaranteed under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution".

The matter will be heard on December 23, 2021.

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