When to air ‘provocative’ condom ads on TV channels? Centre asked to take a call
Viewers have complained against several brands of contraceptives using explicit adult content to publicise their products.Updated: Dec 05, 2017 23:12 IST
The ministry of information and broadcasting (I&B) has been asked for its response on television channels airing condom advertisements with “explicit adult content”.
Following a spate of complaints from viewers against several brands of contraceptives using explicit adult content to publicise their products, the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) has sought the ministry’s suggestion if it is possible to restrict the telecast of such advertisements between 11pm and 5am. Adult content cannot be telecast during prime time, which is also considered as ‘family time’ viewing.
The ASCI is a self-regulatory voluntary organisation of the advertising industry and oversees the contents on the basis of veracity, legal tenability and whether they objectify women to judge the advertisements as safe for consumers, especially children, fair to the competitors.
Shweta Purandare, secretary general, ASCI, told HT that if the content of an advertisement is found to be suitable for viewing, the body cannot ask for the advertisement to be slotted for late viewing.
“The letters that we received from consumers complained that the content of the advertisements of condoms was meant for adults and should not be aired during prime time. But slotting ads is not our mandate, so we have asked the government for instruction,” she said.
Sources in the ministry said the ASCI letter specifically mentioned ‘Manforce’, the condom brand that was in the eye of a storm after political parties sought a ban on its advertisements saying the contents were “provocative and offensive”.
The Confederation of All India Traders, too, had complained to the I&B seeking action against the brand after its Navratri-themed condom ad featuring Bollywood actor Sunny Leone created a furore in Gujarat.
“The ministry, in response to such complaints in the past, has maintained that it cannot restrict or ban contraceptive advertisements. Contraceptives play a key role in the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV. So it’s the ministry that will have to take a call on the issue,” a source said.