The Information and Broadcasting Ministry Saturday asked Twitter and YouTube to take down a deodorant brand’s advertisement videos that appeared to trivialise sexual violence.
The advertising industry’s self-regulatory body, too, found the Layer’r Shot ad to be against its guidelines and told the company to suspend it. The ministry wrote to Twitter and YouTube Saturday stating that the ads violated the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021.
It flagged “certain videos which appear to be an advertisement of a company, and are being posted by several users on the intermediary platform Twitter”.
The advertisements had triggered anger online, with several people pointing out rape jokes in them.
In its email to YouTube, the government said one video has been “viewed close to a million times and also shared on other social media platforms”.
“The above mentioned video is detrimental to the portrayal of women in the interest of decency or morality, and in violation of the rule 3(1)(b)(ii) of the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021, which inter-alia provides that the users shall not host, display, upload, modify, publish, transmit, store, update or share any information which is insulting or harassing on the basis of gender,” the emails to both platforms said.
The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI), the industry’s self-regulatory body, lays down the code for self-regulation in advertising on TV in accordance with the Cable Television Network Rules 1994. ASCI “has also found the video to be in violation of its guidelines…. (and) has notified the advertiser to suspend the ad on an immediate basis,” the ministry said.
After one of the ads was referred to ASCI on Twitter by viewers on Friday, it had said: “The ad is in serious breach of the ASCI Code and is against public interest. We have taken immediate action and notified the advertiser to suspend the ad, pending investigation”.
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