Telecom and Postal Sector – Spectrum Allocation, Call Drops, Predatory Pricing, etc

I&B Ministry issues advisory on private TV channels’ ‘Public Service Broadcasting’ Obligation 


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: NA

Mains level: TV Content on National Importance


The Information and Broadcasting Ministry clarified that the topics of national importance and social relevance embedded in the programs broadcast by private TV channels would qualify for “Public Service Broadcasting” Obligation.

What is the news?

  • The Ministry had earlier issued the guidelines on November 9 last year.
  • Following consultations with the stakeholders, it has now come up with the advisory.

Content on National Importance: Key Guidelines for TV channels

  • The obligations are under the “Guidelines for Uplinking and Downlinking of Television Channels in India, 2022” to telecast such contents for 30 minutes every day.
  • The time for which the public service broadcasting content is telecast in between commercial breaks shall not be accounted for the 12-minute limit for commercial breaks.
  • The time for the content shall be accounted cumulatively on monthly basis i.e. 15 hours per month.
  • Broadcasters have the liberty to modulate their content.

Themes of National Interest

  • The relevant content embedded in the programs may be accounted for public service broadcasting.
  • However, it should be done in a manner that the overall objective of the public service broadcasting may be achieved.
  • The content could include the themes of:
  1. Education and spread of literacy
  2. Agriculture and rural development
  3. Health and family welfare
  4. Science and technology
  5. Welfare of women
  6. Weaker sections of society
  7. Protection of environment and cultural heritage and
  8. National integration

Provisions for voluntary compliance

  • Other subjects: The above list is indicative and could be extended to include similar subjects such as water conservation, disaster management, etc.
  • Self-certification: The advisory seeks to achieve the objective of public service broadcasting by the private TV channels through voluntary compliance and self-certification.
  • Repeat telecast: As advised, the content can be shared between the broadcasters and telecast repeatedly on one or several TV channels.
  • Common e-platform: Such platform can also be developed as a repository of relevant videos or textual content from various sources for access and use.

Rationale behind

  • Social responsibility: The government has argued that since “airwaves/ frequencies are public property” they “need to be used in the best interest of the society”.
  • Creating awareness: The role of mass media, especially the new channels plays a vital role in reshaping public opinion.

Ensuring compliance

  • Once the guidelines are implemented, the Ministry will monitor the channels for the broadcast of this content. In case non-compliance is observed in the Ministry’s view, an explanation will be sought.
  • If a channel continues to be non-compliant, more steps can be taken based on specific advisories that will be issued from time to time, and on a case-to-case basis.


  • Sports channel: The guidelines specify exceptions where it may not be feasible, such as in the case of sports channels, etc.
  • Wildlife channels: The exemption may also apply to wildlife channels and foreign channels, besides live telecasts in the case of sports channels.


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