Industry bodies such as the Indian Newspaper Society (INS) and Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) have moved the Supreme Court raising concerns regarding the self-declaration certificate (SDC) directive for new ads, which came into effect from June 18. Industry players said that while the directive is well-intentioned, there is lack of clarity in terms of guidelines and have also raised confidentiality concerns. While some advertisers have begun submitting the SDCs on the requisite portals of Broadcast Seva and Press Council of India, others seem to be in a wait-and-watch mode.

Rakesh Sharma, President, INS, confirmed to businessline, that the industry body has moved court earlier this week. The industry body has got impleaded in the case between the Indian Medical Association versus Union of India before the Supreme Court, which is slated for hearing on July 9. IAMAI has also approached the top court. Sources added that other ad and media industry bodies are also looking to take similar steps. 

Meanwhile, several industry players have begun submitting SDCs. While some have successfully managed to do so, others have been facing errors, lags and other challenges, industry executives pointed out.

As per the Press Council of India site, there were over 8,700 entries in the SDC list, as of Wednesday evening. Brands have generated SDCs for their print and digital ads, but there were also several dummy entries for testing purposes.

Lack of clarity

Krishnarao Buddha, Senior Category Head, Parle Products, said, “We are active on the World Cup and our ads had already been released. So far, we are continuing with those ads.” He added that more clarity is required especially when it comes to digital ads, as these are dynamic and keep changing from market to market.

Naresh Gupta, Co-Founder and Managing Partner, Bang in the Middle, said, “There is confusion and most of our clients are in wait-and-watch mode. While some clients have taken upon themselves to submit, many others are unsure and waiting to see how this develops.”

Chaaya Baradhwaaj, MD & Founder, BC Web Wise, added that while the intentions behind the directive are good, it has been a bumpy rollout so far. “Unclear guidelines and confidentiality concerns create hurdles. So, collaboration and streamlined processes are needed to enable implementation and compliance,” she added.