No Condom Ads On Television Between 6 AM And 10 PM

No Condom Ads On Television Between 6 AM And 10 PM

Sterilisation is by far the most popular method of contraception in India, especially in rural areas, but the procedure is nearly always carried out on women and often in risky conditions.

In an advisory, India's Information and Broadcasting Ministry has asked all TV channels in this country not to air condom advertisements between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. local time to avoid exposure of such material to children.

The I&B ministry advisory quotes Rule 7 (8) of the Cable TV Network Rules 1994 which specifically states that "indecent, vulgar, suggestive, repulsive or offensive themes or treatment shall be avoided in all advertisements". And, it has also warned the channels to not overstep the ruling and obey the rules, because if not, "Any failure will attract action as per provisions of the rules".

The government gave advertisers a two-hour breather by relaxing airing hours and allowing channels to air ads between 10 pm and 6 am.

Raymond Group, which owns the KamaSutra brand of condoms, told the Economic Times newspaper that "not all condom advertising is indecent, adding that they followed industry standards".

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Doctors and critics, however, came down heavily on the government's restrictions on telecast of such advertisements, saying such a move will prove counterproductive for campaigns against unwanted pregnancies, unsafe abortions and unsafe sex. Good condom advertisements can help curb unwanted pregnancies, which are on the rise among teens, by giving the right message.

"[It is] poised to undo decades of progress on sexual and reproductive health", said Poonam Muttreja, executive director of the Population Foundation of India.

"There are 13 per cent unwanted pregnancies in India, there are almost 15 million abortions".

"Children today have access to various channels of media and information with a lot of content that we have no control over", she said in a statement.