ASCI to work with NCW to monitor ‘indecent' ads

The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) will now work closely with the National Commission for Women (NCW) to monitor indecent advertisements as part of a wider centralised authority mooted by the Women and Child Development (WCD) Ministry.

18 Jul 2018 | By Print Week India News Desk

The WCD ministry, under Maneka Gandhi, had finalised fresh amendments last month to the Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986, widening its scope to make indecent portrayal of women on digital and social media platforms punishable with a fine of Rs 200,000, and a prison term of up to three years.

ASCI, along with other bodies, including the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) and Press Council of India, will be tasked with identifying ads and other promotional material (such as television shows) that represent women indecently, an area that the ad regulator and MIB have been working for long.

In December last year, MIB had issued a directive, asking TV channels to restrict condom ads to the 10 pm-6 am slot. This came following ASCI's initiative, highlighting the need to cap advertising of condom brands to the late night-early morning slot, owing to explicit sexual content, considered unsuitable for children.

ASCI was led in part to take the initiative after multiple complaints against ads for brands such as Mankind Pharma's Manforce condoms, featuring Sunny Leone and Alkem Laboratories' Playgard, featuring Bipasha Basu.

While the ads continue to play on television during regular hours, following condom makers moving the Rajasthan High Court, sexual content in them has been lowered in keeping with the sensibilities of families and children, sources said.

For ASCI, the opportunity of working with the NCW follows work it has undertaken for multiple bodies, including the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India, AYUSH Ministry and Department of Consumer Affairs in the areas of food, healthcare and allied services. The ad regulator acts as the executive arm for these bodies, taking up complaints made by industry and consumers against advertisers for misleading claims, writing to companies to modify the ads. (Courtesy Agencies)