TRAI may amend circular on regulating advertisement: TDSAT
New Delhi: Broadcast tribunal TDSAT on Thursday said TRAI may bring a new regulation or amend the existing one within three months on regulating advertisement time in TV channels.
"All issues are open before TRAI. Let this matter appear after three months. Meanwhile, TRAI either bring a new regulation or amend," said TDSAT bench headed by its Chairman Justice S B Sinha.
Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF), a representative body of news and non-news channels and other broadcasting houses including -- ESPN India, Multi Screen Media, Neo Sports, Discovery Communication, has challenged broadcast regulator TRAI's notification on limiting the duration of advertisements in TV channels and its jurisdiction over the issue.
TDSAT also said that once the circular is final it would be on broadcasters to challenge it and the tribunal would go into the issue of the jurisdiction of TRAI over the issue.
The tribunal also made it clear that it would effect the rights of the broadcasters who have challenged the powers of TRAI to regulate the advertisement timing.
During the proceedings, TRAI's counsel Saket Singh also assured the tribunal that till a new regulation comes, no action would be taken against the broadcasters.
He had sought the liberty from the tribunal to take a decision on the regulation and said that whatever decision TRAI takes would be before the tribunal for scrutiny.
The counsel appearing for the broadcasters said that TRAI in its draft regulation issued on August 27 has added some of their suggestions but still they are contesting that the regulator has no jurisdiction for it.
On May 14, the TRAI had issued a notification limiting the duration of advertisements in TV channels to 12 minutes per hour. Any shortfall of advertisement duration in any hour cannot be carried over, the telecom regulator had said.
TRAI in its regulation had also said that the minimum time gap between any two consecutive advertisement breaks should not be less than 15 minutes and not less than 30 minutes for movies.
News Broadcasters Association (NBA) along with its members NDTV, Times Global (owner of Times Now), TV On Thursday and ABP news had also approached TDSAT against the TRAI directive.
On July 17, TRAI had assured TDSAT that it would amend and may replace also the notification after going through various issues raised by the broadcasters opposing cap on advertising time.
It had also assured the tribunal that it would not implement its order and enforce the broadcasters to follow it till August 30, the next date of hearing.