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I&B tightens up on condom ads on TV

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MUMBAI: Condom ads are off prime time television. The latest advisory from the information and broadcasting (I&B) ministry has asked broadcasters to keep them out of the purview of children and only telecast them between 10 pm and 6 am.

The ministry said that it had taken note of objections regarding condom ads - which are “targeted at a particular age group” - being aired on some channels that are considered as ‘indecent especially for children.' It used Rule 7 (7) and Rule 7 (8) of the Cable TV Networks Rules, 1994 to tell broadcasters to refrain from telecasting ads of condoms that could be considered inappropriate/indecent for viewing by children.

Channels may air the ads at night from 10 pm to 6 am—a time when Indian kids are possibly asleep—and abide by the rules.

Rule 7 (7) says that ‘no advertisement that endangers the safety of children or create in them any interest in unhealthy practices or shows them begging or in an undignified or indecent manner shall not be carried in the cable service.’ Rule 7 (8) says ‘indecent, vulgar, suggestive, repulsive or offensive themes or treatment shall be avoided in all advertisements.’

The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) had approached the ministry for guidance after several people complained regarding the inappropriate nature of condom ads being telecast during primetime viewing on most television channels.

Recently, Mankind Pharma had been pushing the creative boundaries and had featured former porn-turned-Bollywood star Sunny Leone in a series of TVCs in which she cavorted around in a sensual and alluring way that could be argued as being in the zone of titillation. The company had earlier run into a spot when one of its ads had offended local groups in the western Indian state of Gujarat and it had to pull the hoardings off.

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