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Condom ads can be shown on TV only between 10pm and 6am: I&B ministry

The I&B ministry said condom ads should be slotted for late night to prevent exposing children to “indecent and inappropriate” content.

india Updated: Dec 12, 2017 17:32 IST
Smriti Kak Ramachandran
Smriti Kak Ramachandran
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Condoms,Condom ads,condom advertisements
Condom packets seen during celebration of International Condom Day at an event organised by Aids Healthcare Foundation, in New Delhi on February 13.(HT File Photo)

The government has ordered television channels not to air condom advertisements before 10pm and after 6am, a decision prompted by complaints of explicit content in such ads.

The information and broadcasting ministry said these ads should be slotted for late night to prevent exposing children to “indecent and inappropriate” content.

The ministry warned that any channel found flouting the order will face action in accordance with provisions in the cable television networks rules.

In an advisory issued on Monday to the News Broadcasters Association (NBA) and the Indian Broadcasting Foundation, the ministry said its attention has been drawn to channels carrying advertisements of condoms “repeatedly, which are alleged to be indecent, especially for children”.

Poonam Mutreja, executive director of Population Foundation of India, said the move will prove counterproductive for campaigns against unwanted pregnancies, unsafe abortions and the fight against HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.

“There are 13% unwanted pregnancies in India, there are nearly 15 million abortions. This decision is a red flag for me. If the complaints were against the content of a product, then we can review that and make it more culturally sensitive,” she said.

Read | One in three pregnancies in India ends in abortion: Lancet

Hindustan Times reported last week that the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) had asked the ministry to come up with guidelines for television channels on broadcasting advertisements of contraceptives with adult content.

The council is a self-regulatory voluntary organisation that keeps tabs on advertisement content.

The ministry’s order follows the council’s representation as well as complaints from the National Commission of Women and consumers forums.

The ministry invoked Rule 7(7) of the cable TV rules that says “advertisement which endangers the safety of children or create in them any interest in unhealthy practices or shows them begging or in an undignified or indecent manner shall not be carried in the cable service”.

It also referred to Rule 7(8), which states that “indecent, vulgar, suggestive, repulsive or offensive themes or treatment shall be avoided in all advertisements”.

The council’s secretary general, Shweta Purandare, said the complainants objected to such advertisements shown during prime time.

First Published: Dec 11, 2017 21:37 IST