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News |  30 Mar 2013 18:02 |  By RnMTeam

Madras HC: AIR is justified in broadcasting paid commercials

NEW DELHI: The Madras High Court has dismissed a public interest petition challenging the broadcasting of paid commercials on All India Radio (AIR), saying the Prasar Bharati (Broadcasting Corporation of India) Act authorises such broadcasts.

The First Bench comprising of acting Chief Justice RK Agrawal and Justice N Paul Vasanthakumar said the statutory provisions made it abundantly clear that the Prasar Bharati Corporation, particularly its Board, was empowered to determine and levy fee and other service charges in respect of the advertisements. The Bench said broadcasting of any kind, including paid commercials, were covered under the Act.

Hence, the petitioner’s contention that broadcasting of paid commercials was repugnant to the Act had no basis. In fact, Section 12 (7) authorised broadcasting of paid commercials.

The petitioner, advocate R Muthukrishnan, said instead of broadcasting towards its proclaimed objectives, AIR broadcast paid commercials by way of sponsored messages and advertisements of Ministries/Central Departments, public sector undertakings and commercial companies without any regard for the language of the radio programme and language of the paid commercials. The paid commercials were being broadcast only for the sponsors’ benefit. They were not for the common good of the people.

The petitioner’s contention regarding the programmes/paid commercials in Hindi broadcast during news reading in English had no basis as English news was being read from New Delhi and not from the regional broadcasting stations, where State news was being broadcast.

English and Hindi news were being broadcast from New Delhi. Thus, the petitioner could not contend that in the course of the news programme in English there could not be any paid commercials in Hindi.