The broadcast tribunal directs TRAI not to take any action against NBA and its members for non-compliance of the ad-cap order till further orders
BestMediaInfo Bureau | Delhi | September 2, 2013
TRAI, the telecom regulator, which was adamant of capping the advertisement time on TV news channels, has been directed by the broadcast tribunal TDSAT not to take any action against the News Broadcasters Association (NBA) and its members for non-compliance of the 10+2 ad-cap till further orders.
The move has come as a breather for news channels, who are already fighting to stay afloat facing severe financial strain due to high carriage fees and falling revenues.
The interim order came on Friday last in response to NBA’s appeal made after 17 television channels received summons from a Delhi court for non-compliance of the ad-cap order. The tribunal listed the matter for final hearing on November 11, 2013.
TDSAT has also exempted NBA from filing weekly report on their adherence to TRAI's ad-cap regulation. "Till further orders TRAI shall not take any coercive steps against the petitioner (NBA) or its members to follow its regulation. In the meanwhile they would not submit weekly reports before TRAI. They would maintain the records faithfully and submit it before the tribunal," said TDSAT chairman Justice Aftab Alam.
The TV news channels industry which has already seen its revenues falling leading to job cuts in recent days, has been pleading with the government and TRAI that the ad-cap order would make the environment very unhealthy to operate in. NBA in a recent statement said, “In such a severe economic scenario in the country and on the ground, a forced curb on advertising will have a catastrophic impact on revenues of news broadcasters forcing many to take drastic steps that would have an unavoidable, adverse impact on quality of service and jobs."
On Thursday last week, TDSAT had objected TRAI's move to prosecute the broadcasters at a city court, observing that it was somewhat surprised at the sudden and drastic action taken by TRAI.