The Information and Broadcasting Ministry on Thursday clarified that the ban on condom advertisements between 6 am and 10 pm pertained only to commercials with sexually explicit content. “Advertisements that do not sexually objectify women can continue to play beyond curfew hours,” the I&B Ministry said, a day after the Rajasthan High Court issued notices to it and the Health Ministry regarding the December 11 order.
“It is clarified that the said advisory only pertains to sexually explicit content being used to market certain condom brands which titillate the audience from a PR perspective. Advertisements that do not sexually objectify women and are aimed at informing citizens regarding devices/products/medical interventions to ensure safe sex are not covered under the said advisory,” the I&B Ministry memorandum said.
On December 11, the ministry had banned condom ads during the day after receiving multiple complaints regarding their adverse impact on children. “Some channels carry advertisements of condoms repeatedly which are alleged to be indecent especially for children,” the order said. Citing the Advertising Code of the Cable Television Network Rules of 1994, the document argued any advertisement “that endangers the safety of children or create in them any interest in unhealthy practices or shows them begging or in an undignified or indecent manner” was barred. Neither does it allow “indecent, vulgar, suggestive, repulsive or offensive themes or treatment” in ads.
In the clarification, though, the ministry quoted Rule 6(d) of the code that says, “No programme should be carried in the cable service that contains anything obscene, defamatory, deliberate, false and suggestive innuendoes and half-truths”. The fresh I&B Ministry order also quoted another rule, saying “women must not be portrayed in a manner that emphasises passive, submissive qualities and encourages them to play a subordinate secondary role in family and society”.