INDIA. Mumbai: The Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I & B) has requested that Twitter and YouTube remove an offensive and disparaging deodorant advertising that has been circulating on social media.
In a letter to Twitter and YouTube dated June 4, Kshitij Aggarwal, Assistant Director (Digital Media), I&B, described the video –LAYER’R Shotmall 15 OPT2 HINDI SUB HD as “insulting and harassing based on gender.”
Nearly a million people have watched the film, which has also been shared on various social media platforms. As a result, the video displaying an inappropriate and disparaging deodorant advertisement should be taken down immediately.
According to the Ministry, the promotion of a deodorant brand is harmful to the representation of women in the interest of decency or morals and therefore violates the Information Technology Rules 2021.
“The Television channel on which the advertisement appeared has already pulled it down in its directions,” the ministry added.
The controversial ad
These advertisements were earlier aired on SonyLIV during England versus New Zealand match in June 2021.
In one of the ads, a group of men is seen entering a room that had a young couple. The couple gets startled.
In another ad four men are shown stalking a woman in a store. They are heard saying “there are four of us, but there is only one, who will get a shot”. It then shows the visibly shocked woman turning to them uncomfortably when one of them goes to grab a single bottle of ‘Shot’ perfume kept on a rack.
These 15-seconds of each advertisement were made by a Mumbai-based advertising company-Triton Communications, for Adjavis Venture Limited, a customer-focused organization based in Ahmedabad (Gujarat). These ads were suspended by the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) following criticism for being ‘disrespectful towards women’. However, they have resurfaced again on social media.
“The above-mentioned videos are detrimental to the portrayal of women in the interest of decency or morality, and in violation of 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 based on gender,” Aggarwal stated in the letter to Twitter and YouTube.
In light of the above the intermediary Twitter is hereby notified under clause (b) of sub-section (3) of section 79 of the IT Act not to host the tweets containing the concerned videos on its platform,” the I&B ministry letter stated.
The ministry also referred to ASCI’s earlier notification to the advertiser to suspend the ad on an immediate basis. The ASCI lays down the Code for self-regulation in advertising on TV by rule 7(2)(ix) of the Cable Television Network Rules 1994. The ASCI has found the video to violate its guidelines. The concerned videos were broadcast on TV, the letter stated.
In turn, the ASCI wrote on Twitter that “The ad is in serious breach of the ASCI Code and is against the public interest. We have taken immediate action and notified the advertiser to suspend the ad, pending investigation.”
Meanwhile, the Delhi Commission For Women (DCW) chairperson, Swati Maliwal on Saturday tweeted that the advertisements reflected “toxic masculinity in its worst form”. The ad seeks to promote rape culture.
The DCW has written to Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting Anurag Thakur seeking urgent action against a body spray advertisement that trivializes sexual violence. She has asked the minister to build robust systems “to make sure that such filthy advertisements that promote rape culture are never played again on mass media.
“A heavy penalty should be imposed on the particular brand so that other companies refrain from such advertisements,” the DCW stated in a release.
Maliwal also issued a notice to the Delhi Police Cyber Crime team and sought registration of an FIR and removal of the content from mass media. The DCW has also asked the Delhi Police to provide an action taken report on the matter by June 9.
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