Telecast of advertorials which promise miraculous products or self proclaimed babas and gurus who offer super natural solutions on TV has not gone down well with the I&B ministry which has told channels to refrain from showing such content.
Sources told PTI that after noticing that many TV channels were telecasting programmes which appeared to encourage superstition, the Information and Broadcasting ministry had issued an advisory to broadcasters last week.
In its advisory, the ministry said that were advertisements in which unsubstantiated claims were made about products which the general audience could easily believe as truth.
"Such advertisements or advertorials are, therefore, not only misleading, they also appear to encourage superstition and blind belief among the viewers," the ministry's advisory said.
The advisory also says that "most advertorials relating to astrology, vastu, so called discourses by gurus and self proclaimed healers are being shown for hours together in such a way that it might lead viewers to believe they are watching a programme even though they are actually watching advertisements."
The I&B ministry further added that the telecast of such content on TV amounted to gross violation of the Advertising Code contained in the Cable TV Networks Rules, 1994.
It said that as per rules advertisements should not contain any references which are likely to make the audiences believe that the product or any of its ingredients have some miraculous or super natural property which it is difficult to prove.
The ministry has also asked all TV channels including news and current affairs channels, to telecast programmes, advertisements, features or reports with due care and maturity particularly with a way not to encourage superstition and blind belief and mislead viewers.
"It is also brought to the notice of all TV channels that any violation of the programme code or advertising code would attract penal provisions detailed in section 20 of the Cable TV Networks (Regulation) Act 1995 and the terms and conditions of uplinking and downlinking guidelines," it said.
Officials said that while the ministry had sternly sounded the channels against telecast of misleading ads, it has also asked its Electronic Media Monitoring Centre (EMMC) to keep an eye on the commercials being telecast on TV channels and report in case of violations.
The ministry has also asked all channels to submit a compliance report with regard to the telecast of such advertisements, officials said.