A Virgin mobile phone advertisement considered insulting to the nursing profession has been withdrawn after the Information and Broadcasting Ministry threatened to take action against two television channels for showing it.
The commercial shows two young men in adjoining hospital rooms with their arms in slings. They play a prank on the nurse by asking her to fetch a ringing phone from their trouser pockets. When she fails to find it, the boys laugh at the fact that she has fallen for their trick.
The National Commission for Women, which considered the ad obscene, said it treated the nurse like an object. “There were also sexual overtones which cannot be allowed on public television,” an NCW official said. The Commission had received representations from various women’s organizations against the advertisement.
The I&B Ministry, on receiving a complaint, found that the ad violated the advertising code under the Cable Network Act. It issued notices to Star Movies and Discovery channel for showing it.
“The channels have informed us that the advertisement has been taken off air and is being replaced with a different and sober Virgin advertisement,” a ministry official said.
The swift action against Star Movies and Discovery was an attempt on the government’s part to salvage its image, which is under attack from the courts for allowing poor content on television. Last week, the Supreme Court had asked Additional Solicitor General Gopal Subramaniam whether there could be a single day in a year when a family could sit together and watch TV without an assault on their basic values. Earlier, the Delhi High Court had pulled up the government for allowing poor quality content on television.
The ministry has issued showcause notices to five entertainment channels this month alone, the most for any single month this year. Bindass was issued a notice for telecasting a programme titled Dadagiri in which obscene language was used. Hungama received flak for its cartoon show Shin-Chan, which allegedly denigrates children. And Channel V’s Get Gorgeous 5 was considered an obscene reality show.
In 2006, Star One had escaped with a warning for the use of obscene language in its popular series Great Indian Laughter Challenge.