MIB’s Self-Declaration Certificate Mandatory For Ads

SUMMARY

For print and digital ads, agencies will have to submit a declaration, signed by an authorised representative of the advertiser, on the Press Council of India’s portal

In the mandatory declaration, advertisers have to certify that the ads, in question, do not contain “misleading claims” and comply with all relevant regulatory guidelines

As per SC’s orders dated May 7, self-declaration certificates will become mandatory for all new advertisements from June 18

Following the Supreme Court’s directions, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) has mandated a “self declaration” certificate for all new advertisements from June 18.

In a statement, the Ministry said that the government has introduced a “new feature” on the Broadcast Seva Portal of the MIB to ensure streamlined submission of these certificates for TV and radio ads. 

For print and digital ads, agencies will have to submit the declaration, signed by an authorised representative of the advertiser, on the Press Council of India’s portal. 

As per SC’s orders dated May 7, self-declaration certificates will become mandatory for all new advertisements from June 18. However, authorities have kept an additional buffer period of two weeks to enable ad agencies to familiarise themselves with the new norms. The portal went live on Tuesday (June 4).

“The self- declaration certificate is required to be obtained by all advertisers and advertising agencies for all new advertisements that will be issued/telecast/aired/published on or after 18th June, 2024. A buffer period of two weeks has been kept for providing sufficient time to all stakeholders to familiarise themselves with the process of self- certification,” said MIB in a statement. 

Ongoing advertisements do not require the self-certification currently, as per the Ministry. 

In the mandatory declaration, advertisers have to certify that the ads, in question, do not contain “misleading claims” and comply with all relevant regulatory guidelines. The new rules mandate that agencies have to submit “proof of uploading” the certificate to the relevant publisher for record-keeping purposes.

Additionally, the representative signing the declaration will also have to submit their mobile number and email address as well details of the ad including description of the product or service and the ad, full script of the ad, link to the audio/visual element or pdf in case of print ads, and proposed date of broadcast or publishing.

For ads that have been certified by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), a copy of the same certificate has to be appended and submitted alongside the self-declaration.

“The Hon’ble Supreme Court directive is a step towards ensuring transparency, consumer protection, and responsible advertising practices. The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting urges all advertisers, broadcasters and publishers to adhere to this directive diligently,” added the statement. 

Supreme Court Cracks The Whip

At the heart of the directive is the May 2024 order by the Supreme Court that mandated the submission of a self-declaration by advertisers/ advertising agencies before an ad is displayed or aired as envisaged by Rule 7 of the Cable Television Networks Rules, 1994.

While passing the order, the SC flagged the absence of a “robust mechanism” to oversee whether advertisers are fulfilling the obligations stipulated under Central Consumer Protection Authority’s guidelines for prevention of misleading advertisements, 2022.

Noting that advertisers and endorsers were equally responsible for false and misleading ads, the Apex Court also observed that influencers and celebrity endorsers must act with a sense of responsibility while endorsing any product.

But, the mandates did not go down well with People Group’s founder and CEO Anupam Mittal who termed the mandates “completely unviable”. He said that the directions would hurt the “digital competitiveness” of Indian ad agencies globally by increasing costs and compliances.

“This is completely unviable.. @MIB_India. How will digital advertisers who create 100s of creatives a month comply with a directive like that? This will hurt our digital competitiveness globally by increasing costs and slowing us down,” said Mittal in a post on X

While it remains to be seen whether the government moves ahead with the mandates, opposition from ecosystem stakeholders could put a spanner in the works.

While it remains to be seen whether the government moves ahead with the mandates, opposition from ecosystem stakeholders could put a spanner in the works. That said, the move is at the centre of India’s burgeoning digital advertising market, which is reportedly expected to surge to a size of $7.1 Bn by 2028.

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