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Self-Regulation: Q1

Notes compiled by Prof. V.S.Gopal

Early in the 20th Century before the advertising industry became

well organized, the sharp and unethical practice of some
advertisers prompted the rise of self-regulation to avoid state
controls. Self imposed codes of ethics and procedures aim
principally to curtail not only bad taste but also misrepresentation
and deception as well as derogatory and unfair representation of
products of competitors.

Advertising and trade associations are concerned with

maintaining high standards. The associations feel that it helps in
maintaining good public relations.

Individual media and media groups often establish their own

codes of ethics. Some newspapers and magazines refuse to
publish advertisements for tobacco and alcohol products. Most of
them in varying degrees, investigate the reliability of the
advertisers before accepting their copy. Some publishers have
strict rules about the presentation of advertising to prevent
publication of false or exaggerated claims and to preserve the
aesthetic tone of their publications.

Television and radio likewise cooperate closely to avoid

permitting advertising that might cause unfavorable reactions.

Statutory Laws in India: (Case Study may come) (All acts

All those engaged in advertising are recommended to be familiar
with the legislation affecting advertising in India:

I) Young Person (Harmful Publications) Act 1956:

Provides penalty for a person who sells, let to hire, distribute

publicly, exhibits or in any manner puts in circulation any harmful
publication, prints, makes or produces or has in possession any
harmful publication involving young persons, minors etc. The Act
extends to whole of India.

II) Prize Competition Act 1955:

Provides for control and regulation of prize competitions. It

prohibits the prize competition where the prize offered exceeds
One Thousand rupees a month. It also provides for licensing of
prize of prize competition where the prize offered exceeds one
thousand rupees. The Act states that a newspaper or any other
publication should adhere to the provisions of the act, state the
name of the state government under whose control such lotteries
will be conducted and the tax and other conditions that apply with
the scheme.

III) Emblems and Names (Prevention of Improper Use) Act 1950:

Prohibits improper use of 1) the name, official seal of United

Nations, WHO, International Civil Aviation, UNESCO, International
Atomic Energy. (2) The Indian National Flag, The name and
emblems or official seal of Government of India, Government of
State, Supreme Court, High Court, Parliament House, State
legislatures, The name and pictorial representation and the seal
of The President and The Prime Minister of India. (3) The pictorial
representation of medals and decorations of Ashok Chakra,
Param Veer Chakra etc. The Government from time to time
specifies the terms and conditions about the publication and
reproduction of these Emblems and Names, with the prescribed
fees and the validity of the periods etc.

IV) Trade and Merchandise Marks Act 1958:

The law relating to trade marks in India is contained in the Trade

and Merchandise Act of 1958. A Trade Mark is a mark used or
proposed to be used in relation to goods for the purpose of
indicating or so to indicate a connection in the course of trade
between the goods and the and some person having the right
either as proprietor or a registered user with or without using the
identity of the person and a mark includes a device, brand,
heading, label, signature, work, letter or any combination there of.
Registration of Trade Mark generally gives the registered
proprietor exclusive use of the mark, so that any unauthorized
use will amount to infringement. Infringement shall attract both
civil and criminal liabilities.

V) Drugs and Magical Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements)

Act 1954:

Advertisement notice, circulars, label, wrapper or other

document, any announcement made orally, or by means of
producing or transmitting light, sound or smoke.
U/s 3 of the act deals that the advertisement carried out should
state Scheduled Warnings (IMPORTANT) of the drugs in use for
eg: To be taken under physicians instructions, Dosages as
prescribed by the doctor etc.
Section 4 prohibits misleading advertisement relating to drugs.
Subject to the provision of this act, no person shall take part in
publication of any advertisement relating to a drug if the
advertisement contains any matter which (a) directly or indirectly
gives false impression regarding the true character of the drug, or
(b) makes false claim of the drug, or (c) is otherwise false and
misleading in any particular manner.
Section 5 prohibits advertisement of magical remedies for
treatment of certain disease and disorders. No person carrying or
purporting to carry on the profession of administering magical
remedies shall take any part in the publication of any
advertisement referring to any magical remedy which directly or
indirectly claims to be efficacious for any of the purposes
specified in Section 3.

VI) Tortious Liability:

If the Advertisement is libelous the agency, which placed it, will
be liable, even though its client supplied the copy of it, because it
caused the advertisement to appear in the media and the media
will also be responsible because they printed and published the
libel. All parties leading to the publication shall be liable to legal
actions. (IMPORTANT)

VII) Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act 1986:

Prohibition of advertisement containing indecent representation

of women. No person shall publish or cause to publish or arrange
to take part in publication of advertisement, which contains
indecent representation of women.

Penalty Contravention of section 3 & 4 shall attract

imprisonment of 3 years and a fine which may extend to Rs.20,
000/-, on second conviction with imprisonment which may extend
to 6 months but which may extend to 5 years and a fine which
may be not less than Rs.1 lack and which may extend to

VIII) Prevention of Food Adulteration:

Every packed material of food items should contain MRP & Date
of Manufacture, Weight of the food items, batch no if any and the
date of expiry of the item.
It should also carry the handling instructions, the quality and
purity of the items.

IX) Pre- Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Regulations and prevention

of Misuse) Act 1994. (QUESTION COMING)
Prohibition of Advertisement relating to pre natal determination of
sex and punishment and contravention:
1) No Person Organization, Genetic, Counseling Center, genetic
labs, clinics shall issue any advertisement in any manner
regarding facilities of pre-natal determination of sex is
available with them.
2) Penalties shall be punishable with imprisonment, which may
extend to 3years, cancellation of license of the clinic and
suspension of certificate of practice of the physician and
surgeon for a period of 2 years. (VERY important)

X) Companies Act 1956:

All Companies desiring to invite from Public in the form money

any deposit or subscription in their shares and debentures shall
issue a prospectus, which carries the risk perception expected by
the company in carrying out or completion of the project.