The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) is currently seeking consultation and collaboration from the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (I&B), Food Safety & Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), and the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) to support and encourage the self-regulatory mechanism on advertisement content. As part of this collaborative effort with the government and civil society, ASCI will organise a conference in New Delhi on November 17.
Commenting on the effort, I Venkat, chairperson, ASCI, says, "It has become necessary to make regulators, legislators, consumer activist organisations and advertising industry members aware of the work ASCI is doing, and motivate them to use ASCI's services at all possible points to encourage the self-regulatory mechanism on advertisements."
ASCI has invited Ambika Soni, minister of information and broadcasting and K V Thomas, minister of state, ministry of food, consumer affairs and public distribution, along with other stakeholders, to seek solutions on how to make the self-regulatory mechanism of ASCI even more effective and efficient.
Venkat, Soni and Thomas will address the inaugural session of the conference. This will be followed by three technical sessions to discuss issues and solutions related to decency in advertising, honesty and truthfulness in advertising and F&B advertising. Each interactive session will have speakers representing the advertising industry, regulators and activists; it will be moderated by TV anchors with expertise in the field of advertising.
In India, there are several laws regulating the content of advertisements, and consumers are protected from misleading and deceptive advertisements through the enforcement of such laws.
However, it has been observed that the initiative taken by advertisers, agencies, media, and other concerned parties to impose self-regulation through a voluntary code of conduct on the content of advertisements has resulted in institutionalising a robust self-regulatory mechanism.
ASCI, the 26-year-old organisation, is instrumental in addressing intra-company disputes on the content of advertisements, and resolving individual complaints on advertisements raised by citizens and consumers.
Currently, the rules under the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act require that no ad which violates the ASCI ad code can be carried on TV.