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Failure of self-regulation may lead to penalty for advertisers

22-July-2014
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Failure of self-regulation may lead to penalty for advertisers

As the debate over misleading ads heats up and self-regulation by advertisers is being questioned, the government is taking preventive as well as corrective measures to resolve the issue.

Latest news report by Times of India states that the government is about to take measures to prevent misleading advertising on food items being broadcast or published.

This step is a result of the inadequacy of self-regulation by advertisers, according to the report. The report also states that the target is also ads on health, housing, education and agriculture sectors. Print, audio-visual and OOH are to be under government scanner.

The report states: “Sources said at a meeting called by the consumer affairs department last week, a proposal was mooted to have a "subgroup" having members from the government departments, NGOs and consumer issues experts that can receive complaints, identify the misleading aspects and suggest action. This mechanism would be a stop-gap arrangement until a Consumer Protection Authority is established.”

The authority has been proposed in the draft amendment of Consumer Protection Act.

TOI also quoted an official saying, "While the authority will have the power to take cases suo motu and will have the mandate to take strict action against the misleading advertisers, we can't allow the consumers to be misled."

According to the report some of the attendees in the meeting mentioned Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has prepared advertising standards for food items. One of them said, "This can come handy to set the standards for food items related advertisements."

Sources believe experts are of the opinion that misleading advertisers must be made to pay the penalty, said the report.

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