NEW DELHI: The bar on beaming condom advertisements on television between 6 am and 10 pm has drawn mixed reactions. A traders’ body has welcomed the measure as being in line with Indian social values, but an organisation working on population control has termed it regressive.
Praveen Khandelwal, Secretary General of the Confederation of All India Traders, said the ban was “a welcome step” as such commercials “often violate our social values and have an adverse impact on growing children, especially teenagers”.
He said it was imperative to formulate guidelines for endorsement of such products. “Brand ambassadors should be made accountable for endorsing such products. In September last year, we had objected to the telecast of such ads and complained about a condom ad featuring Sunny Leone,” he said.
The Population Foundation of India (PFI) said the bar would undo decades of work on family planning and reproductive health. At a time when the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare was trying to push contraceptive use, it was a regressive move, it said.
Poonam Muttreja, the executive director of the Population Foundation of India, said, “Condoms are not only one of the safest methods for spacing out children, they are also a barrier against HIV/AIDS, sexually transmitted diseases and infections. It encourages men to take equal responsibility in family planning,” she said.
Muttreja said the I&B ministry restrictions were based on the need to protect children from ‘vulgar’ content in advertisements. “Children today have access to various channels of media and information having a lot of content that we have no control over. We need a more sensitive approach that does compromise on information and advocates sexual and reproductive choice,” she added.
The PFI, which is at the forefront of policy advocacy and research on population issues, said that if advertisements were a way of pushing safe sex and family planning, it had to be ensured that they were not not stifled by restrictions.