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MIB: No case of misleading ads in last three years

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NEW DELHI: Action was taken in only two cases of misleading advertisements for violation of the Advertising code in 2014 and there has been no action since, the minister of state for information and broadcasting Rajyavardhan Rathore said in the Parliament.

He said that advertisements telecast on private satellite TV channels are regulated by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) under advertising code prescribed under the Cable Television Network Rules 1994 as listed out in the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act 1995.

The code contains a whole range of parameters to regulate advertisements on TV channels. Rule 7 (5) of the advertising code specifically deals with misleading advertisements, which prescribes that no advertisement shall contain references which are likely to lead the public to infer that the product advertised or any of its ingredients has some special or miraculous or super-natural property or quality, which is difficult to prove.

The Department of Consumer Affairs has not fixed any criteria for veracity of advertisements of products related to daily use of consumer goods. However, Section 2(1)(r) of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 provides that the practice of making any statement, whether orally or in writing or by visible representation, which falsely represents that the goods are of a particular standard, quality, quantity, falls under unfair trade practices.

A consumer can make a complaint against unfair trade practice in a consumer forum established under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986. If the complaint is upheld by the forum, it can issue restraining orders.

In response to another question, Rathore refused any update from the government stating that the case was in the Delhi High Court and, hence, sub judice. Broadcasters had challenged in court a provision in the Cable Act for advertisements to be limited to twelve minutes per hour.

He said Rule 7(11) of the Rules provides that “no programme shall carry advertisements exceeding 12 minutes per hour, which may include up to ten minutes per hour of commercial advertisements and up to two minutes per hour of the channel’s self-promotional programmes”.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) notified the regulation ‘Standards of Quality of Service (Duration of Advertisements in Television Channels) (Amendment) Regulations 2013’ on 22 March 2013 further amplifying the regulation.

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