NEW DELHI: The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has pulled the curtains on TV commercials publicising condoms. So now, while the likes of Sunny Leone and Bipasha Basu will be seen gyrating to adrenaline-rushing songs on the small screen all day, they won’t be seen huffing and puffing in condom advertisements when children — and grandparents — are wide awake.
The ministry has issued a directive that such ads be shown on TV only between 10 pm and 6 am, following “complaints”.
“All TV channels are hereby advised not to telecast the advertisements of condoms which are for a particular age group and could be indecent or inappropriate for viewing by children. Therefore, such advertisements may be telecast between 10 pm and 6 am to avoid exposure of such material to children,” said the advisory.
The ministry referred to Rule 7 (7) of the Cable Television Networks Rules, 1994, which specifically states that, “No advertisement which endangers the safety of children or creates in them any interest in unhealthy practices or shows them begging or in an undignified or indecent manner shall not be carried in the cable service.”
It has also referred to Rule 7 (8), which specifically states: “lndecent, vulgar, suggestive, repulsive or offensive themes or treatment shall be avoided in all advertisements.” The advisory also warns of action in case of failure to follow the diktat.
Officials said the Advertising Standards Council of India approached the ministry to withdraw condom ads telecast in prime time. They claimed the ministry received many complaints about the kind of content condom brands show in ads and that such content may not be suitable for kids and teenagers.
Recently in Gujarat, huge outdoor advertisements of a condom brand featuring Sunny Leone had received sharp reactions.
Traders’ body confederation of all India traders had complained to the Ministry of Consumer Affairs about such advertisements during Navratra, saying it was a “clearly irresponsible and immature attempt to boost sales by putting all our cultural value system at stake”.
The confederation also wanted a specified “code of conduct” by the government for celebrities who act as brand ambassadors.