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Flavoured condom ads in India face flak

Flavoured condoms are obscene and in bad taste, say Indian censors.

india Updated: Dec 08, 2006 19:47 IST

Indian authorities want to stop the daytime airing of a television advertisement promoting flavoured condoms saying it is obscene and in bad taste, a newspaper reported on Friday.

The advert promotes DKT's "XXX" strawberry, chocolate and banana flavoured condoms with the catchline "What is your flavour of the night?".

But the Advertising Standards Council of India and the Censor Board have asked the government to bar the advert from being broadcast during the day, especially during the popular Champions Trophy international cricket tournament.

"This campaign is obscene," Sharmila Tagore, chairwoman of the Censor Board was quoted as saying in the Times of India. "Maybe DKT is targeting raunchy teenagers. But the ads are definitely not meant for children."

Tagore, who is also an anti-AIDS activist, said she did not want to ban the advert totally, but recommended it be aired after 11 p.m. or in cinemas with an "A certification" instead of during the day when children were watching television.

An A certification on a film or advert indicates that it is meant for adult viewing only.

A senior DKT official told the newspaper the flavoured condoms were not meant to promote oral sex, but to encourage couples who do not like the smell of latex.

Conservative attitudes to sex and contraception and a lack of awareness is common, especially in rural India.

Experts say this has not only left children and women vulnerable to abuse but has also exacerbated the spread of HIV/AIDS in the country, which now has the highest number of cases in the world.

According to the United Nations, 5.7 million Indians are living with the virus. But activists say the true figure may be far higher as social stigma forces many of those infected to keep their status a secret.

First Published: Nov 03, 2006 16:58 IST