Curbs only on ‘sexually explicit’ condom ads, government clarifies

NEW DELHI: The information and broadcasting ministry has clarified that the bar on airing of condom advertisements on TV during the daytime was only for those with “sexually explicit content“, days after a controversy erupted over its decision.

The Rajasthan High Court yesterday issued a notice to the government seeking to know the reasons behind its December 11 advisory to TV channels putting a bar on airing of condom advertisements between 6 am and 10 pm.

In an official memorandum yesterday, the information and broadcasting ministry said, “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,” it added.

In an advisory to all television channels on December 11, the information and broadcasting ministry asked them to restrict airing of condom advertisements to slots between 10 pm and 6 am, as these “could be indecent/inappropriate for viewing by children”.

The decision was challenged in the Rajasthan High Court by an NGO.

In yesterday’s memorandum, the ministry referred to a rule under the Programme and Advertising Code of Cable Television Network Rules, 1994′ which says “no programme should be carried in the cable service that contains anything obscene, defamatory, deliberate, false and suggestive innuendos and half-truths.”

It also mentioned another rule that says no advertisements shall be permitted which projects derogatory image of women.