The information and broadcasting ministry has asked states to ensure that public service features on the Centre’s campaigns like — ‘Swachh Bharat’ and ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ — are aired before film screenings, just like the national anthem.
The Cinematograph Act, 1952, makes it compulsory for theatres to show approved public service announcement (PSA) of not more than 22 minutes prior to the screening of the main show.
The Films Division of India, which produces these awareness films on behalf of the government, enters into an agreement with theatre owners to facilitate the exhibition of the approved films.
The government wants the cinema halls to screen features on its initiatives the same way they air spots on anti-smoking.
“The central government recently waived off the 1% rental charged by the films division in exchange of supplying public services awareness films that include news features to facilitate exhibition of such films in the cinema halls of the country,” the information and broadcasting ministry told Rajya Sabha in a written reply recently.
The waiver came after some filmmakers raised objections to the rental charge.
An earlier court ruling made it mandatory for theatres to show feature with messages of social relevance, irrespective of who made it . But cinema halls have been reluctant to air these films.
The Supreme Court on November 30 had made it mandatory for all cinema halls to play the national anthem before a movie is screened. Sources in the information and broadcasting ministry said a few states were not adhering to the rule despite repeated reminders.