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No self-promotion on public money: SC panel to states

By IANS Updated: Jan 19, 2020 8:22 pm

New Delhi, Jan 19 (IANS) In the wake of complaints against some of the state governments for promoting ruling party leaders using public money, a Supreme Court-mandated content regulation panel wants states to set up content regulators for government advertisements.

In case states are not keen to constitute their own panels, they can vest the authority in the three-member content regulation committee formed by the Centre.

The move assumes significance given that Delhi is slated to go to polls next month and a three-cornered fight between AAP, BJP and Congress expected.

With complaints received in the past against Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal and also previous Rajasthan government, the three-member central panel has asked Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Ministry to nudge states for setting up content regulators at the earliest.

Failing this, a status report would be given to Supreme Court and states may face contempt action.

The Committee on Content Regulation in Government Advertising (CCRGA) had earlier sought explanation over a full-page advertisement in various newspapers by Rajasthan government led by the then Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje.

The advertisement on foundation laying of projects worth Rs 15,100 crore had featured photograph of Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

In its reply, the Congress Party-led Rajasthan government in January, 2019 said that the advertisement was published with the permission of the then Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje without following the guidelines of the Supreme Court.

The state, however, did not respond on setting up content regulation committee for government advertisements.

In its meeting on December 14, the CCRGA chaired by former Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) O.P. Rawat decided to ask I&B Ministry to again take up the issue with the state or approach the Supreme Court for contempt of its order.

Only the states of Chhattisgarh and Nagaland have tasked the CCRGA with the responsibility of content regulator.

“The CCRGA met earlier this month and expressed dismay over delay in setting up state-level panel for regulating the content of government ads. The issue would be taken up with the I&B Ministry for necessary action,” an official aware of the development said.

As per a Supreme Court order, central government is required to bring a legislation on the content regulation of government funded advertisements in all media platforms. While the proposed legislation will take time, a three-member panel has been tasked to oversee the content of government funded advertisements.

By IANS Updated: Jan 19, 2020 8:22:24 pm