There was news that the Election Commission had banned the use of television advertising for the forthcoming general elections. Then the Chief Election Commissioner clarified that there was no need to ban such advertisements. He also said that the Cable Television Regulation Act clearly stated that advertisements with religious or political ends should not be shown on television networks. According to him, “Onus for the implementation of the same lies on the Government."
The question being raised is whether TV channels should be disallowed to carry political ads when the same can be carried in newspapers. States, Saeed Naqvi, "Why have they banned political advertising on TV? Why not ban it on print as well?"
Raj Naik, CEO, NDTV Media also states, "I believe there should be level playing field for all media." Would it be a major loss for the news channels? "It has nothing to do with revenue loss or profits. Anyways, most of political advertising would have gone to small regional players. We just feel that there should be no discrimination between two mediums."
L N Goel, Director, Zee News, takes the argument further, "If print can carry political ads, why not television? Nonetheless, the matter is not yet closed. And if I remember it right, in one of the recent elections, political advertising on TV was allowed. However, having said that, we would follow whatever rule is finalised by the Election Commission."
To sort these issues, Indian Broadcasting Federation representatives, as per sources, would be meeting CEC on March 3, 2004. The meeting was earlier planned for yesterday evening but postponed by a day.