Minister Baskota defends advertisement bill

Kathmandu, July 2: Minister for Communications and Information Technology, Gokul Prasad Baskota has said a bill having integrated provisions on advertisements has been brought to regulate the growing advertisement market and consumer interests.

He said this while responding to queries raised by lawmakers during discussions on the principle of the bill in the meeting of the Development and Technology Committee under the House of Representatives today.

"Attempts have been made through the bill to stop unwarranted publicity done by means of 'hoarding board' as well as 'clean feed'," he explained.

There are a slew of authentic and unauthentic advertisements by schools and colleges soon after the Secondary Education Examination (SEE) results are announced. The bill has been designed so that only authentic advertisements are promoted. Similarly, consumers are cheated due to bogus advertisements. The patients run after these sorts of advertisements in the hope of life. Formulation of laws has been proposed with the goal of stopping such activities, according to Minister Baskota.

He stressed on the use of Nepali artists, nature and mass communication media while disseminating advertisements of multi-national companies in the interdependent world.

According to the Communications and Information Technology Minister, provisions have been made in the bill for carrying cost-free advertisements related to issues of public interest and warning on natural disasters.

Stating that such arrangements are made even in countries like Japan, Great Britain, America, among others, the Minister said formation of an Advertisement Board has been proposed in the bill as a body to systematize the advertisements.

He also informed the meeting that the bill makes provision for setting up a mechanism to regulate the issue of only the service provider taking charge up to Rs 800 by providng 300 channels.

'No money given for IIFA Award'

Minister Baskota also shared on the occasion that the government has not made any decision to provide money to the International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) Award ceremony said to be taking place in Nepal.

Minister for Communications and Information Technology, Gokul Prasad Baskota (fourth from left), responds to queries raised by lawmakers during discussions on the principle of the bill in the meeting of the Development and Technology Committee under the House of Representatives, July 2, 2019. 

He said that the government was only cooperating in managing the venue and security for the event which had been organized in various countries before this and now going to be held in Nepal.

Minister Baskota made it clear that holding the IIFA Award event in Nepal would support the Visit Nepal Year 2020 campaign.

Prior to this, lawmaker Ganesh Kumar Pahadi underlined the need of broader discussions on the provision of constituting a coordination committee for the management of advertisements by the federal government.

Ram Bahadur Bista demanded the government make arrangements for producing materials required for the nation at home with its decision to ban the foreign advertisements. 

He questioned the government that why the permission was given to organize the IIFA Awards in Nepal. He expressed his concern over the decision to hand over responsibilities towards that end to the Kathmandu Metropolis and Nepal Tourism Board.

Leelanath Shrestha and Bina Kumari Shrestha described the bill as a document capable of serving the interest of the nation.

Ministry’s secretary Mahendra Man Gurung said the bill was formulated in line with vision framed by the Mass Communications Policy-2073 BS. It would bring the advertisement market of Rs 10-12 billion under the purview of tax. Stating that hoarding boards placed on the roadsides had contributed to a rise in road accidents as well, he said the bill proposed to undo such practice. “Besides, it has the provision of compensation if the advertisement causes a serious loss to any party.”

Committee president Kalyani Kumari Khadka informed the meeting that clause-wise deliberations on the bill would start following the completion of theoretical discussions.

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