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Citizen’s Guide On How To Complain Against Bad Advertisements On Cable TV ?

1 July 2011 No Comment

Do you feel angry or disgusted seeing some advertisements on Cable TV? Do you strongly feel that it corrupts the minds of children, or indirectly promotes social evils? Or that it portrays women in degrading ways?

RTI Activist Sanjay Shirodkar filed an RTI application to Information & Broadcasting (I&B) Ministry and, in response, received the Advertising Code from them.

Download I&B Ministry’s ADVERTISING CODE: http://tinyurl.com/Bad-Adverts-How-to-Complain


Shirodkar says, “Don’t just feel angry and helpless, read this Advertising Code and use it to write a complaint letter demanding action.” ADDRESS YOUR COMPLAINT TO:

Joint Secretary (Broadcasting),

Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Govt. of India,

Room no 659, A-wing, Shastri Bhawan, New Delhi – 110001

If any advertisement offends or disturbs you, it probably breaches the rules of the government’s Advertising Code.


  • Rule 7(2)(iii) forbids “Presenting criminality as desirable”.
  • Rule 7(2)(vi) forbids depicting women in demeaning, indecent and non-equal ways
  • Rule 7(2)(viii) forbids all direct or indirect promotions of cigarette, liquor, gutka and other intoxicants.
  • Rule 7(4) forbids advertising products or services that suffer deficiencies under Consumer Protection Act 1986.
  • Rule 7(9) says that no advertisement violating Advertising Standard’s Council of India (ASCI) standards shall be exhibited on cable networks.  ASCI guidelines are quite detailed and stringent, and therefore useful for filing complaints to Information & Broadcasting Ministry. Download: http://tinyurl.com/Bad-Adverts-ASCi-Standards
  • Rule 7(11) says that no programme shall carry advertisements exceeding 12 minutes per hour, including self-promotional programmes of two minutes per hour.

At present, several advertisements on cable networks are violating the rules laid down by I&B ministry, and the standards laid down by ASCI. For example, various ads for men’s perfumes and deodorants are showing women as sexually promiscuous. Also, many ads for cars and motorcycles show dangerous driving as being desirable. And popular channels have advertisements of close to half an hour per hour of programming!

Please write to the I&B ministry, and mention the following in your complaint:

1)      Name of the channel exhibiting the offensive advertisements

2)      Name and contact details of your cable distributor

3)      Name of the product advertised

4)      The celebrities or characters used, and a brief narration of the storyline (say 200 words)

5)      The exact rule or rules being violated by this advertisement

6)       Argue in about 100 words how the advertisement is violating the rules

If the offensive advertisement is not promptly withdrawn, you may follow it up after a few days with an RTI application addressed to Public Information Officer of the Union Ministry of Information & Broadcasting.

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