Supreme Court Mandates Self-Declaration Certificates for Advertisements In India

In a landmark decision, the Supreme Court of India (SC) has directed all advertisers and advertising agencies to obtain a “Self-Declaration Certificate” before releasing any new advertisements. The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting has released a press release on this new direction dated June 3, 2024.

It may be recalled that the SC has issued an order dated May 7, 2024, stating that before an advertisement is printed/ aired/ displayed on T.V. channels/ electronic media/ Press/ Print Media/ Internet, a self declaration shall be submitted by the advertiser/ advertising agency to the concerned Ministry.

In response to this order, the Central Bureau of Communication under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has issued “Guidelines for using Broadcast Seva Portal/ Press Council of India portal by Advertisers/ Advertising Agencies for uploading Self-declaration Certificate“.

The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (MIB) has launched new features on its dedicated portal to facilitate this process. Similarly, the Press Council of India has also launched similar features on its portal.

These features are incorporated as follows:

  • Broadcast Seva Portal (MIB): Handles TV & Radio Ad Self-Certification
  • Press Council of India Portal: Handles Print & Digital/ Internet Ad Self-Certification

These online portals will activate on June 4, 2024.

What Does the Certificate Do?

Signed by an authorized representative, the certificate confirms two key aspects of the advertisement:

  1. Absence of Misleading Claims: The advertisement must be truthful and avoid any deceptive statements.
  2. Compliance with Regulations: The advertisement must adhere to all relevant guidelines, including:

Starting June 18, 2024, all new advertisements require a valid Self-Declaration Certificate. A two-week window (from June 4, 2024) allows stakeholders to familiarize themselves with the process. Currently running advertisements are exempt for now.

Advertisers must provide proof of uploading the Self-Declaration Certificate to the relevant media platform (broadcaster, printer, publisher, or online platform) for their records.

The Supreme Court’s directive aims to promote:

  1. Transparency: Increased accountability by advertisers.
  2. Consumer Protection: Safeguards against misleading advertising practices.
  3. Responsible Advertising: Encourages ethical and compliant advertising strategies.

The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting urges all stakeholders – advertisers, broadcasters, and publishers – to diligently adhere to this directive.