The Centre favours holding celebrities liable for appearing in misleading ads and endorsing bad products, consumer affairs minister Ram Vilas Paswan said, suggesting that movie stars and sportspersons should use a “common-sense approach”.
“If an advertisement says a person can get taller in six months using this particular product (sic). Is it possible? Celebrities should use a common sense approach,” the minister said. The government is likely to bring out guidelines for celebrities who endorse products, Paswan said addressing a press conference.
The minister said the view that celebrities had a responsibility for the products they promote was unanimously backed by the Central Consumer Protection Council, a regulatory body he chairs. Besides, a standing committee of the Parliament is expected to submit a report spelling its stand on the issue.
The issue of ‘celebrity responsibility’ caught national attention after captain of Indian cricket team, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, had to terminate his contract with the real-estate firm Amrapali.
Dhoni was the brand’s ambassador but ended his association with it after complaints from Amrapali residents emerged and a social-media campaign about people being defrauded by the builder.
Paswan said it is easy to be misled because of the influence popular celebrities have on fans and wilful endorsement without considering aspects of public interest is “bad”.
The parliamentary panel is planning to recommend fine and jail terms for such endorsers.