The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting is planning to appoint an external agency to monitor the myriad channels to clamp down surrogate advertising.
Hiring an external agency was being proposed because the Government did not have the infrastructure to monitor all the channels that were being beamed into households.
Also, the Inter-ministerial committee looking into the violations of the advertising code, in its second meeting some days back, decided to issue show cause notices to channels displaying ads of eight liquor and cigarette brands.
The brands which have been using surrogate advertising and have come under recent scrutiny are Aristocrat Whisky, 8PM, Whitehall, Smirnoff Vodka, Haywards, Royal Challenge, Kingfisher, and Charms cigarette. These brands have been selling a range of products from audiocassettes and CDs to darting kits, golf accessories and water.
Earlier, the Government had issued show cause notices to four broadcasters -- Star, Sony, Zee and Aaj Tak -- seeking explanation why action should not be taken for violation of Rule 7 of the Cable Television Networks Rules, 1999, for carrying surrogate advertising on liquor. The channels were airing surrogate ads of McDowell No 1 and Gilbey's Green Label.
Meanwhile, some broadcasters for the time being have decided to withdraw surrogate ads of liquor and cigarette brands. But the liquor lobby has been working overtime to prevent a ban on surrogate advertising.