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BW Businessworld

Regulating Advertising

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Information and Broadcasting minister, Ambika Soni has advocated the need for the Advertising Standard's Council of India (ASCI) to speed up its mechanism to review consumer complaints on misleading advertisements, thereby making the self-regulation machinery more effective.
Addressing an audience of the advertising and marketing fraternity, at a conference organised by ASCI on 17 November, the minister stated that, "Self regulation is an evolving system in response to the growing aspirations of the consumer or the common man. Advertising is the principle motivator of growth in consumer demand, thus making the role of a creative person extremely significant. The current self regulation mechanism has evolved as a result of the concern shown by the consumer".
Also, present on the occasion, Chairman of Advertising Standards Council of India, I. Venkat highlighted the various initiatives undertaken by the ASCI in recent times. "As part of our evolving self-regulatory system, we have increased the frequency of our Consumer Complaints Council's meetings to twice a month since November. The Fast track service announced recently has already received a positive response. CCC has already reviewed 8 advertisements until now under the Fast Track system. The support we expect from government will ensure that ASCI continues to create global standards and international benchmarks in self-regulation of advertising content," he stated. 
Rajiv Takru, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting further highlighted the need for advertisers and the ASCI to create mechanisms that "don't put society in to a situation of a back-lash, where in the government setups have to step in". He urged for a need of transparency and ethics to be followed by advertisers.
Alan Cullaco, Secretary General, in response to the Minister's appeal, seemed content with the Government's, "we are being supportive of what the minister has said. The strength of ASCI lies in the fact that our Consumer Complaints Council remains fiercely independent".
The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) is a self regulatory voluntary organization of the advertising industry working towards the cause of self-regulation in advertising. The council routinely looks in to consumer complaints regarding unethical or provocative advertisements.