INVC,,

Delhi,,

Ambika Soni, Minister for Information & Broadcasting has said that the recently established self regulatory bodies in the Broadcasting Sector need to increase their membership. This would ensure the proactive and effective participation of smaller players in the sector. An increased membership would reflect the true status of the broadcasting sector. Smt. Soni stated this citing the growth in the broadcasting sector with over 800 channels at the national and regional level in more than twenty major languages and covering approximately 140 million homes. This would also enhance the effectiveness of self regulation and make the environment responsive to the needs of the consumers. Smt. Soni stated this while delivering her address at the Seminar organized by ASCI on “Strengthening self regulation of advertising content” here today.

Elaborating further, the Minister said it was critical for every stakeholder in the industry to work with sensitivity towards the hopes and aspirations of the people. Self Regulation as a process needed to be in a state of constant evolution so as to address critical concerns that arose from time to time. It was necessary to believe in this process in view of the changes taking place within the industry which offered tremendous opportunities for the advertising sector to become one of the principal engines of growth. As the Indian society was complex in character, advertising needed to be sensitive to the socio-cultural requirements of society especially women, children, disadvantaged and marginalized communities. The commodification needed to be prevented since advertisements made an impact and influenced behaviour in a very pronounced manner.

In the course of her address, the Minister also mentioned that public good would be served better if the self regulation was put in place at the content generation stage. She called upon ASCI to create ads which did not offend the sensibilities of the viewer. The Minister also expressed at the rising number of complaints received by ASCI this year as compared to last year. She mentioned that against 190 advertisements, 777 complaints had been received this year as against 200 complaints received vis-à-vis 159 advertisements. The Minister also called upon ASCI to reduce the time lag between the date of the complaints received and action taken by ASCI. The objective in this case ought to facilitate quick corrective mechanism.

One of the key highlights of the Minister’s address was her focus on addressing the concerns of young India with the necessary transparency and accountability from all entities which impacted the lives of such people. She reminded as to how brand advertising through the “Incredible India” campaign and “Milay Sur Mera Tumhara” had galvanized the nation and brought them together.

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