Condom ads restricted to run from 10 pm to 6 am

Image for representation only

The Narendra Modi government has chose to restrict the telecast of condom advertisements with explicit and indecent content between 10 pm and 6 am.

Rohit Ohri, group chairman at advertising agency FCB India, called the I&B ministry's move a "misguided reform", which, he said, was provoked by an ad for Manforce condom, featuring Canadian-born Indian-American actress and former porn star Sunny Leone.

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has issued a directive asking broadcasters to telecast condom ads only between 10 PM and 6 AM. It also cited regulations that prohibit "indecent, vulgar, suggestive, repulsive or offensive themes".

The advisory further involved Cable Television Networks Rules, 1994, banning any commercial ad that 'endangers the safety of children or create in them any interest in unhealthy practices or shows them begging or in an undignified or indecent manner.' As a result, such ads can be aired on television, but only between 10 pm and 6 am.

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It said the order was prompted by complaints that "some channels carry advertisements of condoms repeatedly which are alleged to be indecent, especially for children". Concerns have been raised that such restrictive measures will only reduce the much-needed awareness about the use of condoms.

Recent years have seen high-pressure marketing of condoms with many brands vying for a slice of the ever-expanding market.

Ambi Parameswaran, brand strategist and founder of Brand-Building.com and a Mint columnist, noted that many countries have a separate "unmentionable brand category", which includes products like tampons, condoms or sanitary napkins, which are not allowed to be aired during prime time.

The new notice has been perceived from both sides of people, some of whom are saying that if the government wants to ban the condom ads from television, then they must also begin sex education classes in schools, so that the children know about the protective measures and other issues related to sex and diseases that can be borne out of them if people aren't careful. " The image went viral on mobile apps and on social media".

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