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Judiciary

Delhi HC rejects TV Today's plea against apology sought from it for running liquor ads

By Shreya Agarwal      26 December, 2023 02:03 PM      0 Comments

NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court has dismissed India Today's parent company’s [TV Today Network Ltd] plea challenging an order of the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (MIB) directing it to apologize for running liquor ads of 100 Pipers Music CDs & All Seasons Club Soda on its news channels.

Defending its decision to air the ads, TV Today contended that the 100 Pipers clip was broadcasted based only on the certificate issued by the Central Board for Film Certification (CBFC) provided by the advertiser. It said that the All Seasons clip was broadcasted as the brand name “All Seasons” is anyway commonly used by various kinds of products and not merely by a liquor brand.

However, refusing to accept the contentions the Court upheld the Ministry’s order which directed TV Today to “run an apology scroll in bold legible font at the bottom of the screen four times a day for three consecutive days between 09:00 AM to 09:00 PM within one week from the date of the Orders.”

The bench of Justice Subramonium Prasad held that TV Today’s contention that it had proceeded to air the ads in good faith on the basis of the CBFC certificate submitted by the advertiser cannot be accepted “as the Rules do not permit the broadcaster to independently ascertain the veracity of the clip that is provided by the advertiser.”

Further, the bench held that the advertisement of “All Seasons” was not at all certified by the CBFC, therefore it could not be run at all.

Thus, the Court dismissed TV Today’s writ petition seeking quashing of the Ministry’s order.

TV Today’s arguments

TV Today’s arguments in brief were that the ads were run in accordance with the Advertisment Code, and that there were no means to verify the advertisement clip and CBFC certificate it gets from the advertiser until April 11, 2022 when the Ministry issued an advisory providing for a mechanism to verify the certificate.

It also argued that the channel is not obliged to compare the clips provided by the advertiser with the one which may have been certified by CBFC prior to running it and that it had merely acted in good faith.

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting’s arguments

The Ministry argued that the clip pertaining to “100 Pipers” which was run on the channel was different from what was certified by the CBFC, that the screenshot of the advertisement clearly indicated that it carried the logo of the liquor brand.

Further, it added that the display of the logo of the liquor brand in question is a clear violation of Rule 7(2)(viii) of the Cable Television Networks Rules, 1994 Rules, and that as far as the clip pertaining to “All Seasons” is concerned it is evident that what has been shown in the advertisement is a liquor bottle and the same cannot come within the purview of “surrogate advertisement”.



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