The TDSAT has stayed on August 30 that the implementation of the ad-cap regulation, which will make it compulsory for broadcasters to limit total advertising in a clock hour to 12 minutes, till the next date of hearing on November 11, 2013.
The Telecom Dispute Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) has come to the aid of news broadcasters by directing the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) not to take any “coercive action” against news channels for not implementing the agreed ad restrictions.
While the TRAI referred to the commitment made by broadcasters to adhere to a interim ad cap of 20 minutes and 16 minutes for news and non-news channels, respectively, and submitted that if the TDSAT stayed the amended Quality of Service Regulations, broadcasters would breach this understanding and begin violating the ad cap, NBA contested that it had made no such commitment to TRAI and that no prosecution could be launched on such private arrangements.
NBA insisted to the TDSAT that TRAI had only a recommendatory role to play and this was evidently made clear in the information and broadcasting ministry's notification of 2004 when broadcasting services were brought under the ambit of telecommunication services.
TDSAT chairman Justice Aftab Alam said TRAI had wrongly assumed that its action of prosecution was beyond criticism.
He was disappointed at the manner in which it moved for prosecution without giving chance to broadcasters to seek interim relief. In his opinion, the regulations had to be tested on the anvil of Article 19 (1) (a) and (g) of the Constitution and amere commitment from industry bodies should not be made estoppels on others.
Source: The Economic Times, 31 Aug, 2013