KATHMANDU, Oct. 14 (Xinhua) -- The Nepali government said on Wednesday that foreign television channels need to be aired in Nepal without advertisements starting from October 23.
By issuing a press statement on Wednesday, Nepal's Ministry of Communication and Information Technology asked the cable television operators in Nepal to air foreign television channels without advertisement or they will face penalty.
With the deadline set by the Nepal's Advertisement (Regulation) Act 2019 to air foreign channel without advertisements on October 23, the Nepali government reminded the distributors of foreign channels about the legal provision.
Failure to abide by the law attracts a financial penalty of up to 4,248 U.S. dollar as per this law.
"The relevant agencies are requested to air foreign television channels without advertisements as per the spirit of the law," the press statement of the ministry said.
The airing of television contents without advertisements is known as the Clean Feed.
The Nepali government introduced the law with the provision of Clean Feed in response to the long held demands of the Nepali media industry and advertising agencies as this policy will compel multinational companies to invest in local advertising in Nepal.
"The implementation of this policy is expected to increase the advertising revenue in Nepal substantially," Rabindra Kumar Rijal, president of Advertising Association of Nepal, a grouping of advertising agencies, told Xinhua on Wednesday.
"The estimated annual advertising revenue in Nepal is around 102 million U.S. dollars currently. We expect it to double in the next two years. This policy will benefit Nepal's media industry immensely."
Rijal said this policy would also create more employment opportunities for Nepali artists, players, important public figures to feature in local advertisements of multinational companies.
Cable TV operators who air foreign channels in Nepal said most of the Indian channels would go off-air following the introduction of advertisement free of foreign channels. Foreign channels in Nepal are dominated by Indian channels.
Dhurba Sharma, chairperson of the Federation of Nepal Cable Television Entrepreneurs told Xinhua on Wednesday that they would be forced to remove almost all Indian news channels which display strip advertisements on television along with the contents. "The strip advertisements are aired along with contents and it is difficult to remove them from the content," Sharma said.
He said that the number of channels being available to customers is most likely to be reduced. "It is because people will have to choose which channel they will want to buy. Foreign channels without advertisement will not be available freely as they are available currently along with advertisements."
However, he said that foreign channels have already started sending the advertisement free contents for Nepal.
In order to implement the Clean Feed Policy, the Nepali government has made it mandatory for cable television operators to enforce clean feed policy strictly to get their license renewed. They have to renew their license for airing foreign channels every year.
"Most cable television operators have got their licenses renewed after agreeing to the condition that they would air foreign channels without advertisements," Gokarnamani Duwadi, spokesperson at the communication ministry told Xinhua on Wednesday. Enditem