Come January 1, 2023, it may become binding for Indian television channels to air “national interest” content for 30 minutes every day.
Earlier this month, the Union Cabinet approved the ‘Guidelines for Uplinking and Downlinking of Television Channels in India, 2022’, under which it became obligatory for channels to telecast content in national and public interest.
Even as the guidelines became effective across the country on November 9, officials from the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (I&B) have said that the channels will be given time to conceptualise and create such content.
After several rounds of meetings with the channels and other stakeholders, the likely implementation date for such content will be set for January 1, 2023, sources told The Indian Express.
Before that, there is going to be another round of meetings between the ministry officials and the stakeholders to give a final shape to the plan, sources added.
As per the guidelines, at least 30 minutes are to be given every day to telecast content pertaining to “public service and national interest”, for which eight themes were given to channels for creation of content. The rationale behind the move, as per the government, is that airwaves are public property and need to be used in the best interest of society.
The themes given to the channels include (i) education and spread of literacy; (ii) agriculture and rural development; (iii) health and family welfare; (iv) science and technology; (v) welfare of women; (vi) welfare of the weaker sections of the society; (vii) protection of environment and of cultural heritage; and (7 (viii) national integration.
The government will, from time to time, issue general advisory to the channels for telecast of content in national interest, and the channel shall comply with the same, the guidelines said.