No condom advertisements will be telecast on television between 6 am and 10 pm. An advisory from the Information and Broadcasting Ministry reasons they are “indecent especially for children” and promote “unhealthy practices” among them.
The government’s latest diktat follows a series of restrictive orders — right from what people should eat and wear to even matters marriage issues — the establishment found reason to get itself involved in these matters. The directive was in response to plea filed by Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) with the I&B ministry, requesting to take a call on such ads and their telecast timing.
The Goa State Commission for Women (GSCW) in May had directed the state-run Kadamba Transport Corporation Limited (KTCL) to remove condom advertisements featuring actress Sunny Leone from its buses. The GSCW directive comes following a petition filed by a women’s NGO Ranaragini to the commission. The KTCL buses were earlier carrying advertisements of Goa government’s social welfare schemes carrying pictures of Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar. However, when the model code of conduct (for the February 4 Goa assembly polls) came into force on January 4, the buses started sporting the ads featuring Sunny Leone
GSWC chairman Vidya Tanavade said, “Based on the complaint filed by Ranaragini, we have issued notices to KTCL as well as district collectors. They have been asked to withdraw the advertisements from the buses and other public spaces, which feature actress Sunny Leone promoting a brand of condoms.” “The timeframe to pull out the advertisements has not been specified, but we have asked them (KTCL and district collectors) to remove them as soon as possible,” she said
Ranaragini, in its protest petition to the commission submitted on Tuesday, had demanded removal of pictures of women in contraceptive advertisements on Kadamba buses and other public places “to save embarrassment for women and protect their dignity” The NGO’s petition said, “It has been observed that there is use of women’s pictures in contraceptive advertisements on the corporation buses and elsewhere.”
“This is a very ugly scene and it results in embarrassment for women moving at public places. Ranaragini has received complaints regarding this from many women,” Ranaragini’s Rajashree Gadekar said. KTCL Managing Director Deryk Nato, however, defended the decision saying that the contract to place advertisements on Kadamba buses has been bagged by a Mumbai-based agency. “The agency has been asked not to advertise tobacco products and drugs on the buses, but condoms do not figure in the list of commodities that are banned from advertising,” he said.