The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) recently organised a conference to discuss its role in creating the best practices through its self-regulatory mechanism and various codes of conduct in advertising content.
Ambika Soni, minister of information and broadcasting, and K V Thomas, minister of state, Ministry of Food, Consumer Affairs and Public distribution, were present at the occasion.
Prof Thomas mentioned, "We review consumer complaints on misleading advertisements and debate upon how to manage this issue. In this process, we are considering a legal requirement, as well as an inter-ministerial committee to look into the issue of misleading and false advertisements. For this, we are ready to work with ASCI for a collaborative effort to take this entire matter forward."
I Venkat, chairperson, ASCI, gave an update on the various initiatives undertaken by ASCI in recent times, such as evolving a self-regulatory system, and increasing the frequency of meetings of the Consumer Complaints Council to twice a month from the month of November.
The conference also had three technical sessions to discuss issues and solutions related to decency in advertising, honesty and truthfulness in advertising, and food and beverage advertising.
The sessions threw light on the fact that the country has several laws regulating the content of advertisements, and the consumers are protected from misleading and deceptive advertisements through the enforcement of such laws. However, it has been observed that advertisers, advertising agencies, media, and other concerned parties are taking initiatives to impose self-regulation through a voluntary code of conduct.
The sessions also addressed the issue of prompt resolution of inter-company disputes on the content of advertisements, and spoke about the actions taken on individual complaints on advertisements raised by citizens and aware consumers.