New Rules for Advertisements and Endorsements - UPSC Current Affairs

New Rules for Advertisements and Endorsements

Here’s our today’s edition of Current Affairs Dialog box wherein we will discuss New Rules for Advertisements and Endorsements in detail.

Navigate through the article to get useful insights on the topic and enhance your UPSC preparation. Its relevance to the CSE syllabus is mentioned below:

For Prelims: Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA), Surrogate Advertising

For Mains: The Guidelines for Prevention of Misleading Advertisements and Endorsements for Misleading Advertisements, Consumer Rights, Valid Advertising

Probable Question

Valid and truthful advertising is part of consumer rights. Analyze the need and significance of recent guidelines issued by the Central Consumer Protection Authority for responsible advertising.  

Context

The Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA), under the Consumer Affairs Ministry, recently issued “The Guidelines for Prevention of Misleading Advertisements and Endorsements for Misleading Advertisements, 2022”, to prevent false or misleading advertisements. 

Also Read: NHRC and the Chakmas’ Case 

Need and Significance of the Guidelines

  • The problem of misleading, bait, surrogate and children-targeted advertisement has festered without respite for far too long. 
  • Misleading advertisements affect the health of consumers and manipulate their consumption practices through misinformation and endorsements.
  • The guidelines ensure significant consumer protection gaps while explicitly outlining advertiser duties. 
  • The guidelines also try to discourage the promotion of illogical consumerism aimed at children. 
  • The guidelines perform an essential function in bringing the Indian regulatory framework at par with international norms and standards. 

Defining a ‘Valid’ Advertisement

Rather than defining what constitutes a ‘misleading or invalid advertisement,’ the guidelines have sought to define ‘valid or non-misleading advertisement.’ The guidelines lay down the conditions for non-misleading and valid advertisements. 

  • An advertisement can be considered non-misleading if it contains true and honest representation of goods and does not exaggerate the accuracy, scientific validity or practical usefulness or capability. 
  • In case of unintentional lapse, the advertisement may still be considered as valid if the advertiser has taken prompt action in letting the consumer know the deficiency.

Surrogate Advertising

  • Surrogate advertisement refers to the advertisement of goods in the shadow of other goods. For example, the advertisement of tobacco in the garb of pan masala. 
  • Advertisement of tobacco is prohibited by the law. Existing laws such as the Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply, and Distribution) Act, 2003 already seek to govern advertisements related to tobacco. 
  • Manufacturers and advertisers have been able to circumvent the regulation through the gray area created by a surrogate advertisement. 
  • New guidelines further strengthened the mechanisms to mitigate surrogate advertising. 

Advertisements Targeting Children

Advertisements tend to influence children’s buying behavior and encourage them to consume unhealthy goods or develop negative feelings toward healthy goods. As per the new guidelines:

  • Advertisements that condone, encourage, inspire or unreasonably emulate behavior that could be dangerous for children or take advantage of children’s inexperience, credulity or sense of loyalty etc. have been prohibited. 
  • The goods which require a health warning should not be advertised through children as well as personalities from music, sports and cinema. 
  • The guidelines also require that advertisements including “chips, carbonated beverages and such other snacks and drinks” shall not be cast on channels exclusively meant for children. 

Also watch a detailed video on Preparation Strategy for UPSC CSE Exam 2023 by Vivek Singh Sir, our faculty for Economy :

Other Important Provisions

  • The guidelines have introduced the need to have “disclaimers in advertisements” to clarify a claim made in such advertisement or make qualifications or resolve ambiguities. 
  • The advertiser must not attempt to hide material information with respect to any claim made in such advertisement, the omission or absence of which is likely to make the advertisement deceptive or conceal its commercial intent. 
  • The disclaimer must be visible to normally sighted persons and prominently placed so that the consumer may read it carefully.
  • The guidelines also impose duties on the manufacturers, service providers and advertising agencies to not claim and make comparisons in an advertisement which relate to matters of objectively ascertainable facts. 
  • The advertisement must be framed to gain the trust of the consumers and not to abuse the trust of consumers or exploit their lack of experience or knowledge. 
  • The enforcement issues in existing advertisement laws have been addressed by the guidelines in as much as it imposes severe penalties. It includes a Rs 10 lakh penalty for first violation and a Rs 50 lakh penalty for subsequent violations. 

Conclusion

The guidelines are momentous in empowering customers against mischievous advertisers. The advertisers must take a lesson from the guidelines and impose self-regulation to comply with the same. While the guidelines are a step in the right direction, there is a definite need to ensure their implementation in the same spirit.

Source: The Hindu  

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