Centre issues advisory, self-declaration for ads on food and health products only

The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (MIB) on Wednesday issued a fresh advisory, asking the advertisers and advertising agencies issuing advertisements for products and services related to the food and health sectors to upload an annual self-declaration certificate on the platforms made available for the purpose.

According to a senior Digital News Publishers Association (DNPA) office-bearer, the advisory supersedes all previous advisories issued by the Ministry. It is limited to the food and health sector only, meaning these sectors are only required to provide the self-declaration certificate annually. The media houses are relieved from the responsibility of checking/validating the certificates.

According to the new advisory, the facility for uploading the self-declaration certificate by the advertisers/advertising agencies has been made available on the Broadcast Seva Portal for TV/radio advertisements and on the portal of the Press Council of India for the advertisements on print media/internet.

Accordingly, in view of the Supreme Court order dated May 7, 2024, and in suppression of the previous advisories dated June 3, 2024, and June 5, 2024, the advertisers/advertising agencies issuing advertisements for products and services related to food and health sectors have been advised to upload an annual self-declaration certificate on these platforms, as applicable.

They also have to make available the proof of uploading the self-declaration to the media stakeholders concerned, such as TV channels, newspapers, entities involved in the publishing of advertisements on the internet, etc. for the record. “It is clarified that it shall be the responsibility of the advertisers/advertising agencies to ensure that every advertisement being issued by them is in adherence to the applicable Indian laws, rules, and regulations in letter and spirit,” said the advisory.

In its order, the Supreme Court had said: “…it is deemed appropriate to invoke the powers vested in this Court under Article 32 of the Constitution of India for the enforcement of the fundamental right to health that encompasses the right of a consumer to be made aware of the quality of products being offered for sale by manufacturers, service providers, advertisers, and advertising agencies. To fill up this vacuum, it is directed that henceforth, before an advertisement is printed/aired/displayed, a self-declaration shall be submitted by the advertiser/advertising agency on the lines contemplated in Rule 7 of the Cable Television Networks Rules, 1994.”

“…no advertisement shall be permitted to be run on the relevant channels and/or in the print media/internet without uploading the self-declaration…,” the Supreme Court had directed.

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