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Delhi HC adjourns ad cap case till 23 July

NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court has once again adjourned the hearing in the ad cap case till 23 July.

Petitioners News Broadcasters Association (NBA) and music and regional channels informed the court today of their representations to the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (MIB) to amend the ad cap rule. They also told the court that the ministry was considering making changes to the rule.

It is pertinent to note that I&B Minister Arun Jaitley had indicated that he was not in favour of the 12-minute ad cap rule. His predecessor Prakash Javadekar had even announced that the government was considering exempting free-to-air (FTA) channels from the ad cap.

Meanwhile, the interim order restraining the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) from taking coercive action against petitioners will continue.

Earlier, on 21 January, the court had set 24 March as the date for hearing owing to a backlog of pending cases.

Apart from the NBA, a number of other regional broadcasters had challenged TRAI’s ad cap regulation including 9X Media, B4U, TV Vision, Sun TV Network, E 24, Pioneer Channel, Sarthak Entertainment, Kalaignar TV, Eenadu Television and Raj TV.

While the HC had granted interim relief preventing TRAI from taking coercive action against the petitioners, it had also described the ceiling on advertisements as a ‘reasonable exercise’ while granting relief to Telugu broadcaster MAA TV.

The four major broadcast networks—Star India, Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd, Multi Screen Media, and TV18 Group—are complying with the regulation.

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