The Centre’s Narendra Modi government has decided to hike the advertisement rates for private TV channels. The latest announcement by the Information and Broadcasting ministry comes just weeks before the crucial Lok Sabha polls.
In its statement, the ministry said, “Ministry of Information & Broadcasting has taken a decision to revise the advertisement rates offered by the Bureau of Outreach and Communication (BOC) to private TV channels. The revised rates have been announced on the basis of a Review Committee constituted by the Ministry which submitted its report on 1 January, 2019.”
It said that the revision would lead to an increase in rates of around 11% over the rates of 2017 in respect of most of the private TV channels. The new rate will be even higher for some others as per their reach and TV ratings. “Differential rate structures for news and non-news channels will be offered, depending upon their overall reach in the country. The decision will also make it easier for TV channels to be empanelled with BOC in order to take advantage of the higher rates,” the statement read.
Social media users have been quick to link the new development to this year’s elections. Journalist Milind Khandekar tweeted, “ou know elections are around the corner. Government of India hikes advertisement rates for Private TV channels.
Others concluded that this has been a key reason for the sorry affairs of the Indian media. User Churumuri wrote, “A 25% increase in ad rates for print media. An 11% rise for private TV channels. And now a prime piece of real estate in Bombay for journalists—with 50% set aside for those covering “state affairs and politics”. No wonder freedom of the press belongs to those who control them!”
Earlier this month, the government had also hiked the ad rates the print media by 25%. The government led by Narendra Modi has often come under criticism for subverting Indian media’s freedom by blackmailing them with government ads.