Advertising should not communicate any discrimination as a result of skin colour and care should be taken in the pre-usage depiction of products to ensure the expression of a model is not negative in a way which is widely seen as unattractive, depressed or concerned, Union Minister Ashwini Choubey said on Sunday.
To a question in Rajya Sabha on whether the Centre is considering a ban on advertisements promoting fairness and whiteness creams, the minister of state for health said the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI), a self-regulatory body of the advertisement industry has set up a Consumer Complaints Council to deal with advertising content and decide on complaints against ads making misleading, false and unsubstantiated claims.
In a written reply, Choubey said ASCI is using self-regulatory guidelines according to which advertising should not communicate any discrimination as a result of skin colour.
These advertisements should not reinforce negative social stereotyping based on skin colour. Specifically, advertising should not directly or implicitly show people with darker skin, in a way which is widely seen as, unattractive, unhappy, depressed or concerned, he said.
These advertisements should not portray people with darker skin, in a way which is widely seen as, at a disadvantage of any kind, or inferior, or unsuccessful in any aspect of life, particularly with being attractive to the opposite sex, matrimony, job placement, promotions and other prospects, the minister said.
“In the pre-usage depiction of product, special care should be taken to ensure that the expression of the model(s) in the real and graphical representation should not be negative in a way which is widely seen as unattractive, unhappy, depressed or concerned,” he informed the Upper House of Parliament.
According to provisions of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019, where the Central Consumer Protection Authority is satisfied after an investigation that any advertisement is false or misleading and is prejudicial to the interest of a consumer or is in contravention of consumer rights, it may direct the trader or manufacturer or endorser or advertiser or publisher to discontinue or modify those. ‘Furthermore, the Ministry of Health has issued a notice on February 3 for stakeholders’ comments on a draft Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) (Amendment) Bill, Choubey said.
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