The consultative committee meeting of I&B Ministry scheduled for today, will deliberate on the crucial issue of curbing the menace of surrogate ads of liquor and tobacco on private satellite channels.
The Ministry has taken a strong exception to the fact that while the liquor and tobacco ads are completely banned under the Cable Act, many companies manufacturing liquor or tobacco were boosting their brands through surrogate advertising of products like mineral water or soda on satellite channels.
The Ministry is viewing this practice as a violation of the Cable Act. Even Doordarshan in its official submission to the ministry has called for stopping surrogate ads. Already in order to put a clampdown on surrogate advertising of liquor and tobacco, I&B Ministry has constituted a high level committee headed by Anil Baijal, Additional secretary in the Ministry. The committee which includes representatives from Law, Home, Health, Women and Child Development Minister, Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) has Jt. Secretary I&B Ministry as its Member Secretary.
The committee has been asked to monitor that the TV channels adhere to advertising and programming codes. Besides tackling surrogate ads of liquor and cigarettes, the committee will also put in place the mechanism to put an end to obscenity, derogatory depiction of women and violations with regard to national security.
While checking the channels from violating Cable Act, I&B Ministry bosses are however against adopting any confrontationist approach. The consultative committee meeting is being held to evolve a consensual approach to tackle surrogate liquor and tobacco ads.