Catalyst

Big Brother is watching you

Prasad Sangameshwaran | Updated on March 10, 2018 Published on January 08, 2015

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The Government is engaging with the ad industry watchdog to crack the whip on errant advertisers

This is a Government that got elected on the back of a high-visibility advertising campaign. But even after elections, the Government’s interest in advertising is not in a state of decline. Except this time, the powers that be are concerned about the quality of advertising messages going out from brands to the general public.

In recent times, the Government has actively engaged with the advertising industry and the industry’s self-regulatory body, the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI), to crack the whip.

In end-August 2014, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting issued an advisory to all TV channels to not telecast close to 50 advertisements that were found to be in violation of the ASCI code. Two months later, the Government went a step further. In November 2014, the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) officially partnered with the ASCI to augment the efforts to stop misleading advertisements. In a media statement issued at that time, G Gurucharan, Additional Secretary, DCA, said, “The problem of misleading advertisements and the consequent unfair trade practices that arise is widespread — across sectors, mediums and geographies. DCA’s effort is to build a coalition of stakeholders to combat this menace — partnering with ASCI is an important step.”

Priority sectors

The collaboration is to undertake joint efforts to evaluate and pass strictures against violations. The six priority sectors identified are agriculture and food, health, education, housing, financial services and e-commerce.

Under this partnership, the DCA will redirect complaints received by it to ASCI to avoid duplication of processing of complaints against advertisements already under investigation by the ASCI. The complaints will be evaluated across media such as print, packaging, internet, outdoor, wall paintings, posters and billboards.

In December 2014, the action taken by the ASCI against vulgar advertisements also got acknowledged in Parliament’s winter session.

Published on January 08, 2015
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