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Tuesday, Aug 13, 2002

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Surrogate advertising — IBF to set up code for self-regulation

Our Bureau

NEW DELHI, Aug. 12

EVEN as the Government is hammering out surrogate advertisements, the Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF) has decided to set up a code for self-regulation and ask its members to follow it.

At a meeting between senior Information and Broadcasting Ministry officials, IBF and representatives of the broadcasting industry, the IBF said that a committee has been created to look into all aspects of direct or indirect advertising of liquor and tobacco products. This was taken at the IBF board meeting held last week in Hyderabad.

Sources said that the sub-committee will be headed by Mr Sandeep Goyal, CEO, Broadcasting, Zee Telefilms, and has Mr Raj Nayak of Star India, Mr G.K. Krishnan, CEO, Aaj Tak, and Mr Manu Sawhney, Managing Director, ESPN-Star Sports, as members.

The committee will study all aspects relating to self-regulation within the broadcasting industry taking into account international practices. It will also look into the ASCI (Advertising Standards Council of India) Code, the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995 and the representations made by the IBF under the former Prasar Bharati chief, Mr Rajeev Ratna Shah.

The IBF has also told the Government that along with the Confederation of Indian Alcoholic Beverages Companies (CIABC) it would work on the code. All the new ads would have to go through the committee.

Senior Ministry officials said that if the industry were willing to self-regulate, such a move would be good.

The members also tried to make a case stating that the products being advertised were real products and were available in the market. For instance, they said that Royal Challenge Golf tournament was a tournament that existed and that Gilbey's Green Label water was actually available in the market.

The Ministry has, meanwhile, decided to issue show-cause notices to two channels AXN and Zee against two more brands - Aristocrat apple juice and Whytehall. It had earlier issued notices against 10 other products.

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