Supreme Court's Dual Focus: Influencer Accountability and Ad Transparency

Mainstream
08-May-2024
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In a landmark pronouncement, the Supreme Court underscored the shared responsibility of social media influencers and celebrities in endorsing products or services, cautioning them against propagating misleading advertisements. Justices Hima Kohli and Ahsanuddin Amanullah emphasized the need for transparency and accountability, aligning with Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) guidelines.

"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 affirmed, signaling a paradigm shift in the regulatory landscape of advertising practices.

Acknowledging the influential role of public figures in shaping consumer perceptions, the Court urged influencers and celebrities to exercise due diligence and diligence when endorsing products. It stressed compliance with CCPA guidelines to safeguard consumer trust and prevent exploitation.

The Court's directives were prompted by a case filed by the Indian Medical Association (IMA) against Patanjali Ayurved over alleged misleading advertisements disparaging modern medicine. While the case initially centered on Patanjali's adverts, the Court's purview expanded to encompass broader issues of deceptive advertising practices and regulatory oversight.

The Court's proactive stance culminated in a slew of directives to bolster advertising transparency and accountability. It mandated TV broadcasters and print media to file self-declaration forms affirming compliance with advertising regulations, fostering a culture of responsible advertising practices.

"We don’t want a lot of red tape there (in submission of self-declarations by Advertisers). We don’t want to make it difficult for advertisers to advertise. We only want to make sure there is responsibility," the Court articulated, underscoring the need for streamlined regulatory mechanisms conducive to ethical advertising standards.

Furthermore, the Court ordered the establishment of a new portal for filing self-declaration forms for advertisements on print media, facilitating ease of compliance and adherence to regulatory norms. This proactive measure underscored the Court's unwavering commitment to promoting transparency and accountability across all facets of advertising.

As India strides towards a digital future, the Supreme Court's vigilance in regulating advertising practices serves as a beacon of hope, ensuring consumer protection and upholding ethical standards in the advertising industry. By holding influencers and advertisers accountable, the Court reaffirmed its role as a guardian of consumer rights and public welfare, fostering a fair and transparent marketplace for all stakeholders.

The next hearing, slated for May 14, promises further deliberations on these crucial issues, underscoring the judiciary's steadfast commitment to upholding the principles of fairness, integrity, and justice in advertising.

Author: Anushka Taraniya

News Writer, MIT ADT University