Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Ethics in advertising

Introduction At present in India, there is no central statutory agency or uniform legislation regulating the advertising industry. The Indian advertising market as a whole is regulated and controlled by a non-statutory body, the Advertising Standards Council of  India (ASCI).  ASCI is a voluntary self-regulatory council established in 1985 to promote responsible advertising and to enhance public confidence in advertisements. ASCI consists of a Board of Governors and a Consumer Complaints Council. The Board of Governors comprises four members from each of the four sections connected with the advertising industry:
  • Advertisers
  • Advertising Agencies
  • Media (owners of press, television, radio etc.)
  • Related sectors (e.g. outdoor agencies, PR, market researchers, ad producers, business schools)
The council's objectives are or  Role of the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) 
  • To ensure the truthfulness and honesty of representations and claims made by advertisements
  • To ensure that advertisements are not offensive to generally accepted standards of public decency
  • To safeguard against use of advertising for the promotion of products regarded as hazardous to society or to individuals.
  • To ensure that advertisements observe fairness in competition of generally accepted competitive behavior in business

 Products and Services Banned From Advertising 
The advertisement must not make any direct or indirect reference to the prohibited or restricted products. 
The advertisement must not create any nuances or phrases promoting prohibited productsThe advertisement must not use particular colours and layout or presentations associated with prohibited or restricted products. 
The advertisement must not use situations typical for promotion of prohibited or restricted products when advertising the other products

Tobacco Infant Milk Food, Human Organs Magical Remedies Infant formula, Prize Chits and Money Circulation Schemes,  Advertising Alcohol (Beer, Wine, and Spirits) Physicians Regulations Related to Product and Service, Professionals such as Chartered Accountants, Company Secretaries & Cost Accountants Firearms, Weapons, and Ammunition, Religion Advertising to Children (advertising during and immediately before and after children's programming) . Physicians are not allowed to advertise their services in any form or manner of advertising through any mode, as soliciting of patients directly or indirectly.
the Press Council of India prohibit any advertisement directly or indirectly promoting the production, sale, or consumption of cigarettes, tobacco products, wine, liquor, or other intoxicants. However, some states allow advertising through billboards, signboards etc. 

The Indian Penal Code 1860 prohibits obscene publications. Further, the Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986 prohibits indecent representations of women.  
As per the Food Safety & Standards Act, 2006, no advertisement relating to the standard, quality, quantity or grade-composition.

The Infant Milk Substitutes, Feeding Bottles and Infant Foods (Regulation of Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 1992 prohibits the advertising of infant milk substitutes or feeding bottles.

The Public Gambling Act, 1867 prohibits gambling activities in India. The Information Technology Act, 2000 was also amended to ban Internet gambling and online betting websites. 
The Lotteries (Regulation) Act, 1998  Under section 294-A of the Indian Penal Code, advertisements of a lottery unless it is in accordance with the Lotteries (Regulation) Act shall be punishable.
The Prize Competitions Act, 1955 controls and regulates prize competitions in certain parts of India and prohibits the advertisement of unauthorized prize competitions.

Under the Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act 1986 Advertisements related to sexuality are allowed with the provision that there should not be any indecent representation of women . 
Under the Cable Television Networks Rules 1994, advertisement based on religion or to hurt religious sentiments are not allowed. Also, such advertisement may be punishable under Indian Penal Code 1860

The Young Persons (Harmful Publications) Act, 1956 prohibits advertisements relating to any harmful publication i.e., any publication that tends to corrupt a young person (person under the age of 18 years) by inciting or encouraging him or her to commit offenses or acts of violence or cruelty or in any other manner whatsoever.

According to the ASCI Code, advertisements addressed to minors shall not contain anything, whether in illustration or otherwise, which might result in their physical, mental, or moral harm or which exploits their vulnerability. 
  • For example, advertisements may not: 
    • Encourage minors to enter strange places or to converse with strangers in an effort to collect coupons, wrappers, labels or the like
    • Feature dangerous or hazardous acts which are likely to encourage minors to emulate such acts in a manner which could cause harm or injury
    • Show minors using or playing with matches or any inflammable or explosive substance; or playing with or using sharp knives, guns, or mechanical or electrical appliances, the careless use of which could lead to their suffering cuts, burns, shocks, or other injury
    • Feature minors in promoting tobacco or alcohol-based product..
    • Endanger the safety of children or creates in them any interest in unhealthy practices or shows them begging or in an undignified or indecent manner.
The ASCI Code provides that advertisements  Norms for Journalist Conduct issued by the Press Council of India Act and ASCI Code.
  • Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution of India protects the right to freedom of speech and expression, which is also extended to advertisements. However, like any other right, this freedom is also subject to reasonable restrictions imposed by Article 19(2) of the Constitution of India.
  • Derides any race, caste, color, creed, or nationality
  • Tends to incite people to crime or to promote disorder and violence or intolerance
  • Presents criminality as desirable or directly or indirectly encourages people, particularly minors, to emulate it or conveys the modus operandi of any crime
  • Adversely affects friendly relations with a foreign state
  • Criticism of friendly countries
  • Attack on religions or communities
  • Obscenity
  • Defamation
  • Incitement to violence or anything against maintenance of law and order
  • Contempt of court
  • Aspersions against the integrity of the president and judiciary
  • Anything compromising the integrity of the nation
  • Criticism by name of any person
  • Derides any race, caste, color, creed, or nationality
  • Is against any provision of the Constitution of India
  • Tends to incite people to crime, cause disorder or violence or breach of law or glorifies iolence or obscenity in any way
  • Exploits the national emblem, or any part of the Constitution or the person or personality of a national leader or a State dignitary
  • In its depiction of women, violates the constitutional guarantees to all citizens. In particular, no advertisement shall be permitted which projects a derogatory image of women
  • Exploits social evils like dowry, child marriage
  • Promotes directly or indirectly production, sale or consumption of cigarettes, tobacco products, wine, alcohol, liquor or other intoxicants. However a product that uses a brand name or logo which is also used for cigarettes, tobacco products, wine, alcohol, liquor or other intoxicants, may be advertised subject to prescribed conditions
  • Promotes infant milk substitutes, feeding bottles, or infant food
  • Be wholly or mainly of a religious or political nature or be directed towards any religious or political end
  • Contain references which hurt religious sentiments
  • Promote goods or services that suffer from any defect or deficiency as mentioned in Consumer Protection Act, 1986
  • Contain references which are likely to lead the public to infer that the product advertised or any of its ingredients has some special or miraculous or super-natural property or quality which is difficult to prove.
  • The picture and the audible matter of the advertisement shall not be excessively "loud".
  • Contain indecent, vulgar, suggestive, repulsive or offensive themes
  • All advertisement should be clearly distinguishable from the programme and should not in any manner interfere with the programme viz, use of lower part of screen to carry captions, static or moving alongside the programme.
  • No programme shall carry advertisements exceeding twelve minutes per hour, which may include up to ten minutes per hour of commercial advertisements, and up to two minutes per hour of a channel's self-promotional programmes.
  • Refraining from advocating or encouraging superstition 
  • advertisements exceeding twelve minutes in a clock hour in any broadcast of its programme.
  • The time gap between end of one advertisement session and the commencement of next advertisement session shall not be less than fifteen minutes (thirty minutes in case of a movie). However, this restriction is not applicable to live broadcast of a sporting event.

Furthermore, the ASCI Code states that no advertisement shall be permitted which:

Radio & Doordarshan Advertising
The Code for Commercial Advertising on Doordarshan and All India Radio4: All advertisement on Doordarshan andAll India Radio ("AIR") should conform to the code issued by Director General of each Doordarshan and AIR respectively. These codes have also mandated compliance to the ASCI Code and in general prohibit any advertisement containing the following:

TV Advertising
The advertising code issued under the Cable Television Network Rules, 1994 require advertising carried on the cable service to conform to the laws of the country and not to offend morality, decency, or religious sensibilities of the subscribers. The rules make the ASCI Code compulsory for television and state that no advertisement which violates the ASCI Code shall be carried on the cable service. Under the rules, no advertisement shall be permitted though cable services which:
News Broadcasters Association Regulations: News Broadcasters Association("NBA") represents the private television news & current affairs broadcasters in India. NBA presently has 20 leading news and current affairs broadcasters (comprising 45 news and current affairs channels) as its members. According to News Broadcasting Standards Regulations (NBA Regulations) issued by NBA any broadcast (which includes advertisement) should be in compliance with NBA's code of conduct. NBA's code has made procedure for compliant against broadcaster who in breach inter alia of the following:
 Length, Volume, and Frequency of Commercials
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has issued the Standard of Quality of Service (Duration of Advertisements in Television Channels) Regulations, 2012, which regulates the duration of broadcasting an advertisement and the length of the commercial. Main features of these regulations are as under:

a Indian Broadcasting Foundation and Broadcasting Content Complaints Council ("BCCC")
ASCI and ASCI's Consumer Complaints Council (ASCI's CCC)
Electronic Media Monitoring Centre (EMMC
Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI)
News Broadcasters Association and News Broadcasting Standards Authority
Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI)