Both the Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF) and the News Broadcasters Association (NBA) have come out strongly against the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India's (Trai) recent order capping advertisements on television at 12 minutes per clock hour.
IBF represents the general entertainment channels while NBA represents the news channels.
"Clearly, Trai has overstepped its mandate. According to the 2004 notification issued by the information and broadcasting ministry, Trai is only a recommendatory body," Naresh Chahal, finance director, IBF, told HT.
"Before issuing such directives, a set procedure has to be followed such as holding open-house discussions. The due process has certainly not been followed."
Trai in its Standards of Quality Service (Duration of Advertisements in TV Channels) Regulation 2012 has permitted only full screen advertisements disallowing part screen and drop down ads.
"Trai's decision is one-sided. The regulation is not within its remit," protested Annie Joseph, secretary general, NBA.
"We will now meet the new Trai chairman and discuss. And if the push comes to a shove, we will take recourse to other actions," she said not ruling out a legal recourse.
Interestingly, the Trai order came late on Monday, which was also the last day in office of outgoing chairman JS Sarma. The new incumbent is Rahul Khullar, former commerce secretary.
Among other regulations, the telecom regulator has also prohibited advertisements during live broadcast of a sporting event.