"No Ads Without Self-Declaration Certificate": Centre Cracks Down on Misleading Advertisements Post SC Directive

Mainstream
06-Jun-2024
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In response to the Supreme Court’s directive in the Patanjali misleading advertisements case, the Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) has mandated that all advertisers must submit a 'self-declaration certificate' before broadcasting or publishing any advertisements. This move aims to curb the proliferation of misleading advertisements and ensure compliance with regulatory standards.

"Following the Hon’ble Supreme Court’s directive, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has introduced a new feature on the Broadcast Seva Portal for TV and Radio Advertisements and on the Press Council of India’s portal for Print and Digital/Internet Advertisements," stated a press release by the Press Information Bureau (PIB).

The new requirement, effective June 18, 2024, obliges advertisers to certify that their advertisements do not contain misleading claims and comply with all relevant guidelines, including Rule 7 of the Cable Television Networks Rules, 1994, and the Norms of Journalistic Conduct of the Press Council of India. The MIB's directive emphasizes that “no advertisement will be permitted to run on television, print media, or the internet without a valid Self-Declaration Certificate.”

The certificate, which must be signed by an authorized representative of the advertiser or advertising agency, should be submitted through the respective portals of the Broadcast Seva and Press Council of India. The portals will be activated on June 4, 2024, allowing a two-week buffer period for stakeholders to adapt to the new self-certification process.

On May 7, a Supreme Court bench comprising Justices Hima Kohli and Ahsanuddin Amanullah expressed dissatisfaction over the continuation of misleading advertisements by Patanjali despite previous rebukes. The court questioned why advertisements of banned products were still being aired across various media platforms.

The Supreme Court then ordered broadcasters to ensure compliance with the new directive. "As a tide over measure, we deem it appropriate to direct that a self-declaration be obtained before an advertisement is permitted ... self-declaration is to be obtained for advertisement on the lines of 1994 Cable TV Network Rules, Advertising Code etc," the bench stated.

The court also highlighted the liability of celebrities and social media influencers who endorse misleading products. “We are of the opinion that the advertisers or the advertising agencies or endorsers are equally responsible for issuing false and misleading advertisements,” the court asserted.

The MIB's recent action is seen as a significant step towards enhancing transparency, protecting consumers, and promoting responsible advertising practices. The ministry urges all advertisers, broadcasters, and publishers to adhere diligently to this directive, aiming to create a more accountable advertising environment.

The Supreme Court's directive and the subsequent MIB order mark a pivotal shift in advertising regulations, aiming to protect consumers from deceptive practices and ensure that all advertisements meet strict compliance standards.

Author: Anushka Taraniya 

News writer