| The ministry of information and broadcasting and the
Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) would take steps to
harmonize the Advertisement Code under the Cable Television Regulation
Act and the code prescribed by the ASCI in order to check the "menace"
of objectionable advertisement on TV channels.
At a meeting between minister of information & broadcasting Ravi
Shankar Prasad and a delegation of the ASCI, led by its president
Ravi Kant, yesterday, it was agreed that both the government and
the ASCI would synergise their efforts to ensure that decency is
maintained in advertisements.
Prasad said that he believes in self-regulation and was not in
favour of enforcement by the government. He said professional organizations
like ASCI must exercise their influence in motivating their member
advertisers to conform to their own code for observing decency,
legality, honesty, truthfulness and respectability. He also asked
ASCI to spread their network beyond Metros to the small towns.
Expressing his concern over indecent ads and also surrogate ones
that were going up to skirt the ban on liquor and tobacco ads, Prasad
said that he is receiving a very large number of complaints against
such ads even from MPs, judges, lawyers, women organizations etc.
All were urging drastic action against the offenders, he said.
ASCI representatives shared the concern of the Minister and said
that despite limited resources and infrastructure at their disposal
they have a mechanism to receive complaints against offending ads
and takes suitable action against the violators. They agreed that
self-regulation is the best way to meet the challenge and said that
they would launch an awareness campaign to educate the pubic, inviting
complaints if any against objectionable ads.
The I&B ministry also launched the ASCI website on the occasion.
The website gives information about the ASCI Ad Code, mechanism
to receive complaints against objectionable ads and process for
Meanwhile, on Saturday, Prasad said the ministry would review the
Central Board of Films Censors Guidelines to make them more effective
in the changed circumstances.
Inaugurating the National Conference of chairpersons of State Women
Commissions, here on the weekend, the minister said technology has
vastly changed and the entire media scene has undergone total transformation
since the guidelines last framed in 1991. He said some check is
also required to be exercised over the promos of films, which are
put on the TV channels even before the films are censored. Even
the songs of films given 'A' certificate are shown on the TV channels,
which needs to be stopped.
He said the CBFC deleted over 6,000 feet of film footage, last
year, which were found objectionable. But, he said, the CBFC has
to ensure a blend of creativity and decency while censoring the
Referring to the TV advertisements showing women in an objectionable
manner, Prasad agreed that tougher action is needed.
He repeated his appeal to broadcasters and advertisers to exercise
self-regulation and not to force the Government to take strict action.
He said a creative ad leaves a lasting impression and is much more
effective than one put in a cheap manner.
On its own, the government issued 64 showcause notices and passed
34 final orders on objectionable ads on TV channels. In addition,
three channels have been issued notices for showing 13 objectionable
songs. One of the channels has already agreed to take off offensive
songs, the Minister said.
He said, it is very difficult for the Government to monitor all
the 100 channels and over 2,000 ads on them. He asked the woman
organisations like the National Commission for Women to bring out
specific instances of offensive ads to the government's notice,
which would be properly followed up.
The chairperson of the National Commission for Women Poornima Advani
drew the attention of the minister to the depiction of women in
a very bad manner both by the newspapers and the electronic media.