SC guidelines on govt ads might impact TV channels

MUMBAI: Television channel and newspaper sales execs may be in for a bit of a shocker. Those gigantic ads and long running TVCs by state governments featuring Chief Ministers and other local political leaders mug shots tom-tomming their and their political parties' achievements could well dry up.

The reason: the Supreme Court (SC) today issued guidelines relating to Central government advertising, which are put out using public money. The guidelines clearly forbid the use of photographs of chief ministers, government bureaucrats and appointees and other political leaders in government ads. They however permit the use of the photographs of the President, the Prime Minister, Chief Justice of India, departed leaders, including Mahatma Gandhi in these ads.

The apex court however refrained from disallowing the government to issue public advertisements six months prior to an election. It added that governments can't be allowed to use public money for unproductive purposes like giving advertisements for political gains.

Industry experts believe that the Supreme Court guidelines could impact the revenues of some media groups.

A media observer tells, “Local state governments, from time to time, release boastful ads and TVCs featuring their CMs in newspapers and on TV channels as a bit of a quid pro quo for favourable coverage and positioning of the parties and their representatives in the media. I don't think any state CM will allow the ad expenditure if it does not feature him or her, because they tend to use it to build their own image.”

Another expert opines that it is quite likely that the media managers could well divert government ad spending toward social and mobile media as the SC restrictions do not apply to them - at least as yet. This could be in the form of viral campaigns both as videos, and textual posts.

Watch this space for further news.

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