Good idea or pointless plan? Hindu and Mint comment on I&B public service broadcasting guideline

All private TV channels are now required to have at least 30 minutes of public service broadcasting.

WrittenBy:NL Team
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The Guidelines for Uplinking and Downlinking of Satellite Television Channels in India, 2022, released by India’s I&B ministry this week, require all private television channels in the country to undertake public service broadcasting for at least 30 minutes per day on themes of “national importance” and “social relevance”. 

It’s “a good idea in a diverse country with myriad issues,” says the Hindu

Mint, however, is not at all convinced. “It’s pointless pushing TV to serve national causes,” the paper argues in an editorial published on Friday.

“The themes that have been picked out include education and spread of literacy, agriculture and rural development, health and family welfare, science and technology, welfare of women and weaker sections of society, protection of environment and of cultural heritage and national integration,” the Hindu says about the new guidelines. “These are subjects on which a lot more awareness is necessary. According to a FICCI-EY report, with television subscriptions estimated to add another 42 million by 2025 from 178 million in 2021, on the face of it, the public service broadcast is not a bad idea in a diverse country with myriad issues.”

There’s a caveat, though, the paper points out. “The guidelines say ‘the Central Government may, from time to time, issue a general advisory to the channels for telecast of content in national interest, and the channel shall comply with the same’. Though the Government has left it to the channels to ‘appropriately modulate their content to fulfil the obligation’, its stated intention to step in as and when required may be another way to signal that it will keep a watchful eye on the media.”

Mint points out that the idea of a public service broadcasting mandate has been around since 2008, “and it still seems more like an error than a trial”. Not least because TV channels of all genres and hues – news, entertainment, sports – can already claim to do public service broadcasting in their own sense of the term.

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article imageNew I&B guidelines: TV channels to have 30 minutes of public service broadcasting

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