The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, and the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) have suspended an advertisement of a perfume brand for its detrimental portrayal of women.
“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,” read the official joint statement of the MIB and the ASCI.
The advertisement that was first made available on Youtube, on Friday, depicts four men standing behind a woman, at a mall, and saying, “Hum chaar, aur yeh ek. Shot kaun lega?” (We are four, and there’s one. Who is going to take the shot?)
While the woman appears uncomfortable, initially, and turns around to face the men, she heaves a sigh of relief after she follows their gaze and sees that they referred to the perfume.
According to MIB and ASCI’s statement, the video garnered close to a million views on YouTube and was also shared on other social media platforms. The advertisement was also broadcast on TV.
Swati Maliwal, Chairperson of the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) wrote to Minister of Information and Broadcasting, Youth and Sports Affairs, Anurag Thakur, which cited two advertisements of the same brand.
“This advertisement is clearly promoting sexual violence against women and girls, and (is) encouraging a rapist mentality amongst men. The advertisement is cringe-worthy and should not be allowed to be played again mass media,” Maliwal’s statement read, and emphasised on the need for a robust system to be put in place.
She added that one of the ways to ensure that such content is not produced, or published, “for cheap publicity, would be to impose heavy penalty on this particular company for its anti-women advertisement.”
In a notice attached to the letter, Maliwal sought the submission of documents such as copy of the FIR and a detailed action report in the matter. She also asked for the submission of information on the steps taken by the police to remove the advertisement.
However, despite both notices, the ad continues to be circulated on social media platforms, as well as on YouTube.