On December 11, the Information and Broadcasting ministry imposed restrictions on advertising condoms on television between 6 am and 10 pm, stating that it would be inappropriate viewing for children. This means that practically for the whole day, no condom ads can be broadcast. The move comes after a few sections of the society objected to the bold video content of the condom ads aired during prime time. The Information and Broadcasting ministry stated that TV channels can only show condom ads between 10 pm and 6 am. This restriction has elicited a strong response not only from the advertising firms and companies, but also the Twitterati. While some agreed with the decision, others called it atrocious.
It might be recalled that in September this year, the Confederation of All India Traders had complained against an outdoor campaign of Mankind Pharma’s Manforce condom in Gujarat during the Navratri festival. The ad featured its brand ambassador, Sunny Leone, and carried the lines ‘Khelo magar pyar se’. The traders opposed these suggestive lines and said it hurt their religious sentiments, forcing Mankind Pharma to withdraw nearly 500 hoardings. Another recent incident was when actor Salman Khan, who is hosting Bigg Boss 11, allegedly banned Bipasha Basu and Karan Singh Grover’s infamous condom ad from featuring on his show.
Reportedly, the I&B ministry said that condom ads should be slotted for late night to prevent exposing children to “indecent and inappropriate” content. Any channel found flouting the rule would be punishable as per the provisions in the cable television networks rules, it said. The ministry issued an advisory to News Broadcasters Association (NBA) and the Indian Broadcasting Foundation, and said that its attention has been drawn to channels carrying advertisements of condoms “repeatedly, which are alleged to be indecent, especially for children”.
Last week, the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) has asked the ministry to come up with guidelines for television channels for broadcasting advertisements on contraceptives. The ministry invoked Rule 7 (7) of the cable TV rules that says “advertisement which endangers the safety of children or create 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 also referred to Rule 7(8), which states that “indecent, vulgar, suggestive, repulsive or offensive themes or treatment shall be avoided in all advertisements”.
Experts opine that this move could be counterproductive for campaigns against unwanted pregnancies, unsafe abortions and the fight against HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. Condom companies too came forward and clarified that not all of their advertising is “indecent”, and that a “blanket ban” is not the solution.
Here is what the Twitterati feels about the ban:
Users were enraged at the ban:
Some took a dig at “decent” condom ads:
Well, good question?
Alternative solutions were offered:
Strong opinions were put forth:
People found the ban ironic:
A few agreed with the move:
As is evident from the tweets, a large number of people disagree with the decision of the Information and Broadcasting ministry to ban condom ads during the day. Many opine that in the face of growing population in the country, sex education is important. The Tweeple also pointed out the fact that if condom ads are a negative influence, then how can sleazy songs with suggestive lyrics be allowed to air during the day. Maybe the content of the condom ads could be changed, but a blanket ban is not the solution, was the voice of the majority on Twitter.