Information and Broadcasting minister Smriti Irani today clarified that there was no ‘ban’ on the transmission of condom ads during daytime, and that restrictions have been imposed only on ads that “objectified women”.
Irani said she had already clarified the matter in response to a query by the health ministry on whether the ministry’s ads and promotions were also covered by the ban.
The health ministry regularly releases ads and short films to spread awareness about condoms. A government company also makes a brand of condom called Nirodh, which is also often advertised during the day time.
“It has been clarified to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare that advertisements which do not sexually objectify women and are aimed at informing citizens regarding devices, products and medical interventions to ensure safe sex are not covered under the said advisory,” Irani said today.
“Advertisements on safe sex may be continued to be promoted without sexually objectifying women and/or without carrying sexually explicit content,” she added.
Ads for condoms are often targeted only at men, and often try to win their target’s attention by using female models in provocative poses.
Even non-sexual products, such as soaps and shampoos, are often sold in India with the help of women in sexually suggestive poses. However, these ads are not covered by the restrictions.
Irani said the her ministry had written to TV channels on the matter after the industry organization Advertising Standards Council of India suggested that condom advertisements be aired only between 10:00 PM to 6:00 AM “as these advertisements are meant to be seen only by the adults”.
Following this suggestion by the ASCI, said Irani, her ministry wrote to the channels that advertisements of condoms which are for a particular age group and could be indecent or inappropriate for viewing by children be telecast between 10:00 PM and 6:00 AM to avoid exposure of such material to children.
Irani said her ministry had sought ASCI’s opinion after it was approached by members of the public against ‘indecent’ ads for condoms on TV.