In a significant move, the inter-ministerial committee (IMC), constituted by the ministry of information and broadcasting (I&B), is in the process of drafting codes and guidelines to curb the menace of misleading ads aired on cable television channels. Currently, the IMC is studying the impact of such misleading ads carried by cable channels.
On another front, the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) is also closely examining advertisements which depict women in a derogatory manner.
Incidentally, the I&B ministry is now reactivating the operations of its inter-ministerial committee with new initiatives.
It was in 2002 that the ministry had set up two IMCs (short- and long-term) under section 20 of the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act 1995 for looking into the violation of programme code and advertising code as prescribed in the Cable Television Network Rules 1984, by television channels.
On ASCI’s plans to check ads which portray women poorly, a spokesperson from ASCI said, “We are meeting many representatives of women’s organisations who are deeply concerned with the misrepresentation of women in advertisements. We are working with the All India Democratic Women’s Association to protest against the indecent portrayal of women in advertisements.”
According to the ASCI spokesperson, some advertisers are using attractive women to promote products which are totally unrelated to the needs of women.
“With the objective of grabbing attention, attractive women are used to sell even cars nowadays. The National Commission for Women is also concerned about the representation or portrayal of women in media,” he added.
As per ASCI’s self regulation codes, advertisements which are objectionable to women and are likely to hurt sensitivities on a large scale should be modified. Interestingly, the number of women members of ASCI’s Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) has gone up to seven from three last year.