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Celebs and influencers will be held liable for misleading ads: SC

SC cautioned that celebrities, influencers, and advertisers are equally accountable for endorsing and spreading deceptive advertisements.

The Supreme Court warned that celebrities, social media influencers, and advertisers will share equal responsibility and liability if they endorse and disseminate deceptive and misleading advertisements or services concerning food and health products, as reported by The Economic Times.

The apex court said, "It is the shared responsibility of advertisers and endorsers, including celebrities and influencers, to ensure the accuracy of advertisements."

"Endorsements by public figures, influencers, celebrities, etc., go a long way in promoting a product, and it is imperative for them to act with responsibility when endorsing any product in the course of advertisements," remarked a bench consisting of Justices Hima Kohli and Ahsanuddin Amanullah.

It mandated advertisers to submit self-declaration forms affirming their adherence to cable TV rules and advertising codes before broadcasting ads. Additionally, television broadcasters must upload these declarations onto the Broadcast Seva Portal before airing the ads, as per the directive. The relevant ministry has been instructed to establish a portal for advertisers to submit self-declarations for print media ads within four weeks.

The judges, however, clarified that they do not intend to create excessive bureaucratic hurdles in the submission of self-declarations by advertisers. They emphasised that the aim is not to make it challenging for advertisers to promote their products but to ensure accountability and responsibility in advertising practices.

The bench noted the existing guidelines requiring influencers to disclose paid endorsements transparently. They highlighted the need for the government to establish a clear procedure to encourage consumers to file complaints, ensuring that such complaints are not merely acknowledged or marked but are taken to a logical conclusion.

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