Acknowledging the efforts towards self-regulation in advertising, the Supreme Court of India, in its recent judgement titled ‘Common Cause (A Regd Society) v Union of India and Ors’, affirmed and recognised the self-regulatory mechanism put in place for advertising content by The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI). The Supreme Court agreed that ASCI serves as an effective pre-emptive step to statutory provisions in the sphere of media regulation for TV and radio programmes in India.
In its judgment, after carefully analysing the provisions of the Cable TV Act and Rules, as well as the submissions presented by the Central Government regarding the necessity of self-regulation in media, the Supreme Court concluded that the current regulatory mechanism involving both statutory and self-regulatory system serves as a sufficient media content regulator and needs no interference. The grievance redressal platform provided by self-regulatory bodies like ASCI, therefore, functions as the first step for aggrieved consumers against content in the media that might not be in line with the existing laws.
Commenting on the Supreme Court’s directive, SK Swamy, ASCI Chairman, said, “It’s a moment of pride and honour for ASCI to have received the highest form of recognition from the Supreme Court of India. This is extremely encouraging as this order endorses ASCI’s processes for self-regulating advertising content and, therefore, motivates us further to strengthen our efforts towards protecting the legitimate interests of consumers from misleading, indecent, harmful and unfair advertisements.”
The Advertising Standards Council of India’s work has been recognised earlier by various government bodies like Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB), The Department of Consumer Affairs (DoCA), Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) and the Department of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH) towards co-regulating misleading advertisements which violate ASCI’s advertising code.
The Advertising Standards Council of India is a self-regulatory organisation for the advertising industry to promote, maintain, monitor and uphold fair, sound, ethical and healthy principles and practices of advertising for the protection of interest of consumers and the general public