Kathmandu, January 17
Summing up that the implementation of ‘clean feed’ policy for television channels being aired in Nepal is not possible under the current legal provisions, the Ministry of Information and Communications (MoIC) is preparing to amend the Clean Feed Policy, 2016.
Following continuous pressure from cable television service providers and refusal of Indian broadcasters to develop separate advertisement feeds for Nepal, MoIC had deferred its plan to implement the clean feed system in Nepal from July 16. While deferring the implementation plan of clean feed, MoIC had also felt the lack of enough legal groundwork to implement such a system in the country’s broadcasting industry.
Clean feed refers to a provision that requires available channels in the country to either make their contents advertisement-free or air advertisements which are
developed especially for Nepal using local contents, characters and language.
“Implementation of clean feed policy is not as easy as it sounds. It needs enough legal groundwork,” said Ram Chandra Dhakal, spokesperson for MoIC, adding that a committee will be formed soon to make necessary amendments to the Clean Feed Policy and simplify the process of implementing the clean feed provision in the country.
Making necessary amendments in the existing Clean Feed Policy, MoIC plans to form a separate Broadcasting Authority in the country to implement clean feed or authorise Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA) to implement the provision.
Sources at MoIC also said that Indian broadcasters have clearly refused to develop separate advertisement feed for Nepal citing Nepal is a small market for advertisement and thus, the government was compelled to defer implementation of clean feed.
Along with Indian broadcasters, Nepali cable television service providers are constantly pressurising the government not to implement clean feed provision citing that its implementation will force cable operators out of business.
Informing that more than 90 per cent of around 200 television channels available for subscription in Nepal are Indian channels, Sudhir Parajuli, president of Cable Operators Federation of Nepal (COFN) said that enforcing clean feed abruptly is not justifiable especially at a time when Indian broadcasters have clearly said that it would be an inconvenience for them to air separate advertisement feed for Nepal.
Moreover, cable television service providers have been discouraging clean feed citing that its implementation will significantly increase the cost of television viewing in the country.
On the other hand, Nepali advertisers have been lobbying for the implementation of the clean feed policy at the earliest citing that implementation of such policy will double the annual turnover of Nepal’s advertisement industry to Rs 12 billion.
A version of this article appears in print on January 18, 2018 of The Himalayan Times.