Celebrities may soon face penalties, including jail terms, for misleading advertisements. A Parliamentary Committee has recommended a fine of up to Rs 50 lakh and five-year jail terms for offenders.
The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Food, Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution had recommended a fine of Rs 10 lakh and imprisonment of up to two years or both for first time offence. For a repeat offence the committee recommends Rs 50 lakh fine and imprisonment for five years to the celebrity endorsers.
Celebrities endorsing brands through misleading advertisements may soon get penalised. The government has said that a Parliamentary Committee’s recommendation of penalties against endorsers of misleading advertisements was under consideration, according to media reports.
Earlier, Advertising Standards Council of India had released guidelines on which advertisements could be classified as misleading. The guidelines have held the celebrities responsible for the claims made in ads in which they appear. Even though the council has put the onus on the advertiser and the advertising agency to ensure that celebrity brand endorsers are aware of ASCI codes.
The guidelines said endorsements or representation of opinions or preference of celebrities must reflect genuine, reasonably current, views of the individuals. Also, making representations must be based on adequate information about or experience with the product or service being advertised.
Weight-loss and health products ads also fall under this ambit. This may cast some obligation on the likes of Virat Kohi, KM Marykom and Saina Nehwal, who have been endorsing healthcare brands.