22nd December, 2022 Polity and Governance
Copyright infringement not intended
- Delhi Lieutenant-Governor (L-G) has directed the Chief Secretary of Delhi to recover ₹97.14 crores plus interest from the Delhi Government for “political advertisements” published or telecast as government advertisements in 2015 and 2016.
- LG passed the order under the Committee on Content Regulation in Government Advertising (CCRGA).
Committee on Content Regulation in Government Advertising (CCRGA)
- In 2016, the CCRGA was created by the Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting on the directions of the Supreme Court in its judgment in the Common Cause vs. Union of India.
- It is a 3 member body.
- CCRGA is set up to regulate the content of Central and State government advertisements on all media platforms.
- The Supreme Court had also directed States to constitute their respective bodies.
- Some States have set up committees to regulate public advertising content, while some have given consent to the CCRGA to monitor their advertisements.
- The Supreme Court had issued a set of guidelines for public-funded advertising by governments including;
- Government advertising should maintain political neutrality and avoid glorification of political personalities or projecting a positive impression of the party in power or a negative impression of parties critical of the government.
- Government advertising should not be used at patronizing media houses.
Background of the Present issue
- In 2016, The CCRGA, following a complaint issued notices to the Delhi government on allegations of violation of the SC-mandated guidelines in publishing advertisements.
- In response, the Delhi government informed the CCRGA that it was going to form a committee of its own as per the 2015 order of the SC, which mandated that States set up their respective bodies to regulate government advertisements’ content.
- In 2016, The Delhi High Court in the matter ruled that Union Territories are not authorized to constitute their committees and will, therefore, come under the jurisdiction of the CCRGA.
- The CCRGA, after its investigation, reported that several Delhi government advertisements had violated the guidelines on various fronts such as publishing false/misleading ads, mentioning the party in power by name, self-glorification and targeting political opponents.
- The CCRGA directed the Delhi government’s Directorate of Information and Publicity (DIP), which issues government campaigns, to identify specific advertisements, quantify the money spent on them, and recover it from the government.
- Delhi Government has been defending its spending on advertisements by saying that;
- It is for public knowledge of different government schemes and various awareness campaigns.
- Both Union Government and State Governments across India spend on advertisements to promote work done by the Government and for awareness campaigns.