No info about ASCI forming task force to monitor & regulate ads on OTT: Piyush Goyal

Goyal, Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food, & Public Distribution, also denied that the consumers affairs ministry is working with the MIB to form guidelines & processes to monitor ads on OTT platforms

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Dec 2, 2021 9:10 AM
Piyush Goyal

Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food, and Public Distribution Piyush Goyal has said that the ministry has no information about the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) setting up a task force to monitor and regulate advertising on over-the-top (OTT) platforms.

While responding to a question in Lok Sabha, Goyal denied that the consumers affairs ministry is working with the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) to form guidelines and processes to monitor advertising on these platforms.

"This Ministry has no such information as Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) is an independent non-profit organisation constituted under Companies Act (2013)," Goyal said while responding to a question from BJP MP Ravi Kishan whether ASCI proposes to set up a task force to monitor and regulate advertising on OTT.

Asked whether the ministry is working with the MIB to form guidelines and processes to monitor advertising on these platforms and if so, the details thereof, Goyal replied in the negative.

He was also asked whether the ASCI is also working closely in partnership with government entities like Central Consumer Protection Authority, Ministry of I&B, Ministry of AYUSH, etc., to fine-tune existing guidelines and formulate new ones and if so, the progress made in this direction. To this, Goyal said, "This Ministry has no such information."

On the question, whether the regulatory body also proposes to set up a task force to scrutinise brand promotions weaved in content programming claiming health or immunity benefits and if so, the details thereof, Goyal said that it is "not applicable".

It is pertinent to note that ASCI chairman Subhash Kamath has been quoted as saying that the advertising watchdog is looking to set up a task force to monitor ads that are played on OTT platforms. “Advertising on OTT was not part of ASCI guidelines earlier; we are now working with the ministry of information & broadcasting to form guidelines and processes, which will monitor advertising on these platforms,” ASCI chairman Subhash Kamath had told a leading English business daily.

Kamath had further stated that the council is in constant conversation with various government entities on how we can create and evolve guidelines in the new media landscape. "These will be a combination of existing and new guidelines,” he stated. He had also said that ASCI will also set up a task force to scrutinise brand promotions weaved in content programming.

Earlier, ASCI had said that it has started tracking new media platforms, such as video streaming, digital, and social media platforms for misleading ads. The council had also stated that it is working on guidelines to be released in the next few weeks to clearly define what constitutes a digital ad, which could be a social media post or video, misleading practices, the role of influencers, and transparency on social media platforms so that brands can make informed decisions on ethical and transparent promotions.

The guidelines were being formulated by a committee comprising representatives of digital platforms, such as Facebook and Google, advertising agencies, advertisers, and legal experts. ASCI had taken a suo-motu cognisance of 14 ads that were aired on OTT platforms in November 2020. Of these, 12 ads were barred from being aired.

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