Too many ads on TV channels – TRAI petitions Delhi High Court

Even as broadcasters and the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) continue to fight the new tariff order (NTO) 2.0 case in the court, the telecom regulator has approached the Delhi High Court against too many ads on TV channels. While submitting its petition in the court, TRAI said that it had received numerous complaints from consumers stating that their TV viewing is being marred by excessive ads on TV channels.

As is known, Rule 7(11) of the Cable Television Network Rules, 1994 (CTN/Cable TV Rules) mandates a limit of 12 minutes of ad time per hour of programming, with the ad break split into 10 minutes of commercial ad time and 2 minutes of ads for the channel’s self-promotion.

The News Broadcasters Association (NBA) has challenged Rule 7(11) of the Cable Television Network Rules, 1994 (CTN/Cable TV Rules), stating that the rule is ultra vires Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution of India, which guarantees to all its citizens the right to freedom of speech and expression.

Meanwhile, several broadcasters have also challenged Rule 7(11), arguing that TRAI had no power to regulate the length of advertisement on TV channels and that “regulating advertisement is nothing but regulating free commercial speech guaranteed under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution”.

The next date for hearing has been fixed on December 23, 2021. Meanwhile, the Court has clubbed together NBA’s petition and all pending petitions, and has asked NBA and the Centre to respond to TRAI’s intervention application.


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