The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has deferred the order issued to channels that they need to air apology scrolls for carrying objectionable ads. An official communiqué from the I&B Ministry stated that the decision on airing a public apology from August 18-21 had been deferred. No further date has been given at present. The communiqué mentioned that a decision on the matter would be taken up by a ‘competent authority’ at a later date.
Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF) informed, “All we can day is that the order has been suspended. The I&B Ministry heard us and that is very encouraging.”
Interestingly, at the August 14, 2006 meeting, where the IBF delegation met I&B Minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi and I&B Secretary S K Arora, Dasmunsi wasn’t aware of the order at all. The broadcasting fraternity has been vocal in expressing their disagreement on the order and this communiqué is welcome news for them.
As is known, the I&B Ministry had issued a notice to 43 channels asking them to explain some of the ads they had carried, which were found objectionable on the count of being surrogate and obscene. Following the subsequent meetings of channels with the I&B Ministry on the issue, the notice was converted into an order, which required channels to air the apology scroll for a period of three days.
The erring channels comprised Aaj Tak, Animal Planet, B4U, Balle Balle, Channel V, CNBC TV-18, Discovery, ESPN, ETV Bangla, ETV Kannada, ETV Marathi, ETV-2, HBO, Headlines Today, India TV, MTV, National Geographic, NDTV 24X7, Raj TV, S S Music, SAB, Sahara Bihar, Sahara One, Sahara Samay, SET Max, Sony Entertainment, STAR Gold, STAR Movies, STAR One, STAR Plus, SUN TV, Tara News, Ten Sports, TEZ, TV-9, Zee Bangla, Zee Café, Zee Gujarati, Zee Marathi, Zee News, Zee Sports, Zee Studio and Zoom.
Some of the channels were asked to do so from August 15, 2006. The IBF had requested the ministry at a meeting on August 11, 2006 to postpone this date on count of Independence Day celebrations and the I&B had agreed.
The scroll that was to be aired 24-hours for three days read thus: “Ministry of Information & Broadcasting issues a warning to X (name) channel for telecasting surrogate advertisements of liquor/tobacco products in violation of advertising code. X (name) channel regrets this and apologies for the same. We assure to be more careful in future.”