The 19th meeting of the Supreme Court-mandated Committee on Content Regulation in Government Advertising (CCRGA) was held (virtually) on September 4.
The meeting, chaired by Om Prakash Rawat, former Chief Election Commissioner of India, was attended by two other members, Ramesh Narayan of Asian Federation of Advertising Associations and past President, IAA and Ashok Kumar Tandon, part-time member, Prasar Bharti Board.
According to directions from the Supreme Court, states are mandated to set up their respective three-member committees on Content Regulation of Government Advertisements. Karnataka, Goa, Mizoram and Nagaland States have already constituted state-level, three-member committees. The State Government of Chhattisgarh has given its consent to the Central Committee to monitor the content of their government advertisements.
The CCRGA meeting took a serious note of the fact that other states are yet to constitute their respective state-level committees.
The CCRGA was of the view that some state governmentsâ delay in setting up the state-level committees may be construed as contempt of Supreme Courtâs order.
The CCRGAâs attention was also drawn to the fact that some respondents were yet to furnish their replies to the notices issued to them in response to the complaints received by the committee.
In view of the current Covid-19 pandemic, the committee decided to allow further time to respondents to furnish their replies to the notices in all the pending complaints lodged with the committee.
The CCRGA felt non-compliance of its decisions was a serious matter.Â It was of the opinion that in the event of any non-compliance of CCRGAâs orders, the committee may be constrained to put embargo on further advertisements by nodal agencies of governments concerned, which come under purview of this committee.
The committee may, if necessary, also decide to summon officials of the Govt. agencies concerned dealing with release of advertisements in the event of undue delay in responding to committeeâs notices.
It may be recalled that as per the Supreme Courtâs directions on May 13, 2015, the Government of India on April 6, 2016, had set up a three-member body consisting of âpersons with unimpeachable neutrality and impartiality and who have excelled in their respective fieldsâ, to look into content regulation of government funded advertisements of all media platforms.
Under the Supreme Courtâs guidelines dated May 13, 2015 â âthe content of Government Advertisement should be relevant to the governmentâs constitutional and legal obligations as well as the citizenâs right and entitlementsâ.
The Supreme Court also observed that âAdvertisement materials should be presented in an objective, fair and accessible manner and designed to meet the objectives of the campaignâ, âAdvertisement materials should be objective and not directed at promoting political interests of ruling partyâ, âAdvertisement Campaigns be justified and undertaken in an efficient and cost-effective mannerâ and âGovernment advertising must comply with legal requirement and financial regulations and proceduresâ.
The committee is empowered to address complaints from the general public on violation of the Supreme Courtâs guidelines and make suitable recommendations.
The complaints may be filed before the committee on its address: The Member Secretary, Committee on Content Regulation in Government Advertising (CCRGA), Room No. 469, 4th Floor, Soochna Bhawan, C.G.O. Complex, Lodhi Road, New Delhi-110003 (Contact No. 011-24367810,Â whatsapp No. +91 9599896993) or to its email: email@example.com.