Report No. 255
(iv) Requirement of maintaining distinction between news and advertisement
7.27.1. With respect to electronic media, Rule 7(10) under Advertisement Code of Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Rules, 1994 formulated under Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995 states "All advertisements should be clearly distinguishable from the programme and should not in any manner interfere with the programme viz., use of lower part of screen to carry captions, static or moving alongside the programme."
7.27.2. The 'Norms & Guidelines' issued by the NBSA in 2011 provides that:
"Every news broadcasting organisation shall disclose conspicuously, in an appropriate manner during broadcast of a program, on their television channel/s and on their website/s, including during a news, current affairs, sports, entertainment or promotional broadcast, as to whether the content of such broadcast has been paid for by or on behalf of the entity that is subject matter of such broadcast in any manner whatsoever; and whether such broadcast is an "advertorial" or other media marketing initiative."271
271. Ibid., at 6; News Broadcasting Standing Authority, Norms & Guidelines On Paid News, (2011)
7.27.3. By way of the same guideline, it has been recommended that where any footage/ segment/ programme carried on a news channel has been "paid-for" whether as an advertisement or advertorial or other promotion, this aspect is required to be disclosed conspicuously during the broadcast, with the aim and intent that viewers are not misled into believing that such content is part of news reportage.
Further, according to other guidelines issued by the National Broadcasting Standards Authority272, the news channels are required to disclose any political affiliations, either towards a candidate or a party. Further, unless they publicly endorse or support a particular party or candidate, news broadcasters have a duty to be impartial. However, these guidelines are not adequate solutions as they are mere guidelines and not binding in nature.
272. Norms and Guidelines issued by NBSA on 3rd March, 2014 & 24th March, 2014