MUMBAI: In a recent development, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) through an advisory has barred broadcasters from airing advertisements that have been found in violation of the Advertising Standards Council of India’s (ASCI) code.
MIB compiled a list of ads that made unsubstantiated claims and violated the provision of code for self-regulation as well as provisions under Drug & Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act, 1954 and has now asked broadcasters to ensure strict compliance of the advertising code in the Cable Television Networks Act (CTN).
ASCI chairman Partha Rakshit said, “This is another feather in the cap of ASCI, in its efforts to make advertising more responsible. We were finding that some advertisers on TV channels, especially Tele Shopping Networks, were not complying with the ASCI decisions. We submitted the list to the Inter Ministerial Committee (IMC) of the MIB for their consideration. Based on that, IMC observed that any violation of ASCI code also violates the Advertising Code enshrined in the CTN Act and its rules. In short, IMC has directed that advertisements found to violate the ASCI code cannot be carried on TV channels.”
The advisory sent by MIB states that ‘non-compliance of ASCI’s code of self-regulation is a violation of rule 7 (9) of the Advertising Code contained in the CTN Rules. The CTN code and rules state that ‘no advertisement which violates the code of self-regulation in advertising, as adopted by ASCI for public exhibition in India, from time to time, shall be carried in the cable service’. Therefore, ASCI decisions are not just bound for compliance by advertisers but also by TV channels.’
Some of the products in the MIB’s Advisory list which violated the ASCI code in terms of their advertising and advertisers not complying with the ASCI’s decision to uphold the complaint are Fairpro (Telemart Shoppi Network), Ayurvedic Roopamri Fairness Cream (WWS SkYshoP P), Celebrity Lift (RTC Enterprises), GLO Intense Brightening System (B Lab), Rashi Ratan Topaz Ring (Quick Telemall Marketing), Maha Dhan Lakshmi Yantram Musli Power Xtra (Kunnath Pharmaceuticals), Brain Smart GTM (Teleshopping), Bhairavi Sadhana- Devishree Foundation Trust, Shaktivardhan Vaccume Therapy, Sandhi Sudha Oil (Telemart Shopping Network), MadhuSanjivani (JMD Teleshopping), Addiction Killer (SK Shopping), Easy Slim Tea , Maha Dhan Lakshmi Yantram etc.
Earlier this week, ASCI had issued stringent guidelines on advertisements for fairness creams, barring companies from depicting dark-skinned people as inferior to their fairer counterparts and not to depict them as unhappy, unattractive or depressed.