Political advertisements on television and cable networks:Review of relevant regulationCompiled by Nikhila ReddyAfter the ...
Election Commissions DirectionsFollowing the Supreme Court judgment, the Election Commission issued the followingdirection...
(v) The Returning Officer of every Parliamentary constituency in the country has beendeclared the Designated Officer for t...
The Election Commission has proposed that where any general election is due on theexpiration of the term of the House, adv...
5. In a single session of broadcast, no party would be allocated more than 15 minutes.6. The period of broadcast and telec...
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Political advertisements on television and cable networks review of relevant regulation

Published on: Mar 4, 2016
Published in: News & Politics      Entertainment & Humor      
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Transcripts - Political advertisements on television and cable networks review of relevant regulation

  • 1. Political advertisements on television and cable networks:Review of relevant regulationCompiled by Nikhila ReddyAfter the controversy following the 2004 general elections, rules were formed aboutpolitical advertisements on TV and cable networksThe issue of advertisements on television and cable networks led to considerablecontroversy during the 2004 general elections. The Cable Television Network(Regulation) Rules, 1994, prohibit advertisements of a political nature. This issue wasraised before the Andhra Pradesh High Court (Gemini TV v Secretary Ministry ofInformation and Broadcasting et al), which suspended the operation of Rule 7 (3) ofthe Cable Television Network (Regulation) Rules, 1994, relating to the prohibition ofpolitical advertisements. The matter went to the Supreme Court which, by its orderdated April 13, 2004, modified the High Courts order and directed the ElectionCommission to monitor such advertisements on television and cable networks duringthe 2004 general elections. The Government is considering amending the relevantprovisions of the Cable Television Network (Regulation) Rules, 1994, to provide for asuitable advertisement code and monitoring mechanism.[1]The Supreme Court, in its April 4 decision [2], clarified that the Code for CommercialAdvertising on All India Radio prohibits advertisements of a political nature. TheMinistry of Information and Broadcasting has confirmed that the Code for Advertisingon All India Radio is also applicable to advertisements on FM channels. Therefore,advertisements of a political nature are prohibited on all radio channels. [3]According to the Supreme Court order and the subsequent instructions of the ElectionCommission, advertisements of a political nature to be displayed on TV/Cablenetworks have to be first certified by a Committee set up for this purpose. TheSupreme Courts April 4 directions provide in specific and unambiguous terms that theorder is binding on all "political parties, candidates, persons, group of persons of Trustswho propose to insert the advertisement in the electronic media, including cablenetworks and/or television channels, as well as cable operators." www.infochangeindia.org
  • 2. Election Commissions DirectionsFollowing the Supreme Court judgment, the Election Commission issued the followingdirections:i) The Chief Electoral Officer, Delhi, has been directed to constitute a Committeecomprising the following persons to deal with applications by political parties andorganisations: a)The Joint Chief Electoral Officer Chairperson. b)Returning Officer of any Parliamentary Constituency in Delhi. c) One expert a person not below the rank of Class-I officer -- to be requisitioned from the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting.ii) This Committee will entertain applications for certification of any advertisement to beinserted in a television channel or cable network from the following: a) All registered political parties with headquarters in National Capital Territory of Delhi. b) All groups or organisations or associations or persons with headquarters in National Capital Territory of Delhi.(iii) The Chief Electoral Officer of every other State/Union Territory has been directedto constitute the following Committee to deal with applications by political parties andorganisations: (a) The Additional/Joint Chief Electoral Officer -- Chairperson. (b) Returning Officer of any Parliamentary constituency located in the capital of the state. (c) One expert a person not below the rank of Class-I officer -- to be requisitioned from the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting.(iv) This Committee will entertain applications for certification of any advertisements ontelevision channels and cable networks by the following: (a) All registered political parties with headquarters in that State /Union Territory, (b) All organisations or group of persons or associations with registered offices in that State/Union Territory. www.infochangeindia.org
  • 3. (v) The Returning Officer of every Parliamentary constituency in the country has beendeclared the Designated Officer for the purpose of entertaining applications forcertification of advertisements proposed to be issued on a cable network or televisionchannel by individual candidates contesting the election from the Parliamentaryconstituency of which the Designated Officer is the Returning Officer, as well ascandidates contesting in Assembly constituencies falling within that Parliamentaryconstituency. The said Returning Officer can co-opt any of the Assistant ReturningOfficers, not below the rank of a Sub-divisional Magistrate belonging to the StateProvincial Civil Service, to assist him or her in the task of certification of applications.vi) The Chief Electoral Officer of every State/Union Territory will constitute the followingCommittee to entertain any complaints/grievances of any political party or candidate orany other person with regard to the decision to grant or refuse certification of anadvertisement: (a) The Chief Electoral Officer -- Chairperson (b) Any Observer appointed by the Election Commission of India (c) One expert to be co-opted by the CommitteeThe applications for certification of any advertisements need to be made at least threedays prior to the commencement date of the telecast of such advertisements. In caseswhere an application for certification of advertisement is by any other person orunregistered political parties, it will have to be made not later than seven days prior tothe date of telecast. [4]Reference by the Chief Electoral Officer, GujaratIn October 2007 the Chief Electoral Officer, Gujarat has made a reference to theSupreme Court (vide letter NoELC-1007-769-(Cell)-CHH, dated 24.10.2007) statingthat certain political parties have submitted applications for certification with CDscontaining various programmes telecast earlier on various TV channels/cablenetworks, asking whether the Committee is required to consider such applications forcertification. In this connection, the Supreme Court clarified that, keeping in view theobjective sought to be achieved by the apex courts order of April 13, 2004, the wordadvertisement will have to be given a broader meaning to cover programmes whichany political party/organisation intends to use as campaign material on cable networksor similar apparatus. Accordingly, the Committee will have to preview all such materialgiven by the party for certification. [5]Proposals for electoral reforms www.infochangeindia.org
  • 4. The Election Commission has proposed that where any general election is due on theexpiration of the term of the House, advertisements showcasing the achievements ofgovernments, either Central or state, in any manner, should be prohibited for a periodof six months prior to the date of expiry of the term of the House and, in case ofpremature dissolution, the date of dissolution of the House. However,advertisements/dissemination of information on poverty alleviation and health-relatedschemes could be exempted from such a ban.Elections to the State Legislative Assemblies of Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh,2007In a recent order (Order No.437/TVs/2007/MCPS), the Election Commission dealt withthe issue of allotment of broadcast/telecast time to political parties in the assemblyelections to the State Legislative Assemblies of Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh in2007. Earlier the Commission, in an order dated January 16, 1998, had ordered thefree use of state-funded television and radio to recognised and national politicalparties. This was subsequently extended to all elections to State Assemblies held after1998, and general elections to the Lok Sabha in 1999 and 2004. These orders weregiven statutory basis by amendments to the Representation of People Act, wherein theCentral Government has said that the broadcasting media in question are those thatare owned or controlled or financed wholly or substantially by funds provided to themby the Central Government.The Commission, in an order dated October 23, 2007, decided to extend its previousorders to the assembly elections in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh in 2007 butdetermined that the use of broadcast/telecast time will be available only to nationalparties and recognised state parties in the States of Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh.The main features of the scheme were:1. Facilities would be available from the Regional Kendra of All India Radio andDoordarshan and in the state headquarters of Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh andrelayed by other stations within the respective States.2. A uniform base time of 45 minutes to be given to each national party and recognisedstate party (recognised in the state) by the Regional Kendra of Doordarshan and AllIndia Radio networks in the two states.3. National and state parties to be treated on par for Assembly elections.4. The additional time to be allotted to political parties was decided on the basis of thepoll performance of the various parties in the last Lok Sabha and Assembly elections inGujarat and Himachal Pradesh. www.infochangeindia.org
  • 5. 5. In a single session of broadcast, no party would be allocated more than 15 minutes.6. The period of broadcast and telecast was between the last date for filingnominations and ended two days before the poll dates in the two states. However, theorder disallowed telecast or broadcast during the 48 hours preceding the close of polls,in accordance with specific provisions of Representation of the People Act, 1951.[6](Nikhila Reddy works for the Alternative Law Forum, Bangalore)NB: Last updated in July 2008.For more recent developments see the following article: Political ads on FM, but nonews by Sajan Venniyoor on The Hoot:http://www.thehoot.org/web/home/story.php?storyid=3456&pg=1&mod=1&sectionId=7&valid=trueEndnotes1. http://www.eci.gov.in/PROPOSED_ELECTORAL_REFORMS.pdf2. Ministry of Information & Broadcasting Vs M/s Gemini TV and Others (2004)5 SCC7143. http://www.eci.gov.in/CurrentElections/ECI_Instructions/ins_081107.pdf4. http://www.eci.gov.in/CurrentElections/ECI_Instructions/Adv_Order.pdf5. http://www.eci.gov.in/CurrentElections/ECI_Instructions/ins_021107.pdf6. http://www.eci.gov.in/press/current/PN_23102007.pdfInfoChange News & Features, June 2009 www.infochangeindia.org

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