Facing pushback from the industry stakeholders, the government has granted some relaxation to the mandated daily 30-minute public service messaging (PSM) by private sector broadcasters, including sharing of such content amongst TV channels, flexible timings and voluntary audits.
On Monday, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) said the 30-minute daily obligatory public service broadcast by private broadcasters could be embedded in programmes telecast by other television channels.
In an advisory, MIB clarified the PSM need not be of 30 minutes at a stretch and could be spread over smaller time slots, but should not be aired between midnight and 6 am.
“This Ministry undertook (a) series of consultations with the broadcasters and their associations to delineate the procedure for Public service broadcasting by the private satellite TV channels,” the advisory said, adding the private broadcasters have to submit a monthly report on the Broadcast Seva Portal listing out the cumulative monthly airing of 15 hours.
It also said: “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.”
In November 2023, the MIB had asked the private television channels to air public service broadcast content for 30 minutes every day under eight themes of national importance and social relevance as part of the new service obligations under the revised and updated uplink and downlink guidelines.
The government has also allowed sharing of content between the broadcasters and repeat telecasts on one or several television channels.
It has also allowed the creation of a common e-platform as a repository of relevant videos or textual content from various sources for the purpose of public service broadcasting, which may be accessed and used by the television channels.
Subjects such as water conservation and disaster management have been added to the list of themes of national importance and social relevance.
The themes notified earlier were education and spread of literacy, agriculture and rural development, health and family welfare, science and technology, welfare of women, welfare of the weaker sections of the society, protection of environment and cultural heritage and national integration.
The channels broadcasting predominantly (more than 12 hours) sports and devotional, spiritual, yoga content shall be exempt from furnishing the monthly reports on the Broadcast Seva Portal, the advisory said.