The Government of India has not acceded to the request of private broadcasters to withdraw its notification prohibiting surrogate advertising on television. The driving reason behind the government’s refusal to change the law is the widespread violations of the advertising code. The government also believes that these advertisements have a negative impression on minors.
In a written reply to the Lok Sabha, minister of state for information and broadcasting Anand Sharma said that Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF) had, in a representation to the ministry dated 31 March, requested it to withdraw the notification prohibiting surrogate advertising of alcoholic and tobacco products.
IBF had contended that the interests of advertising and media sectors were affected adversely by the notification. The ministry, however, said the notification was issued after it received reports about widespread violation of the advertising code.
“Keeping in the mind the sensitivity involved, especially the impression that such advertisements create on minors, the government issued the notification dated February 25, 2008,” Sharma said.
The notification said that “no advertisement shall be permitted which promotes directly or indirectly production, sale or consumption of cigarettes, tobacco products, wine, alcohol or other intoxicants”.