Anti-tobacco warnings for OTT programmes soon, health ministry to amend rules
An audio-visual disclaimer of a minimum of 20 seconds on the ill effects of tobacco use will also be displayed at the beginning and middle of the programme. NEW DELHI: OTT platforms may soon be mandated to display anti-tobacco warnings and disclaimers as are seen in movies screened in theatres and in television programmes with the Health Ministry likely to amend the relevant rules, officials sources said on Thursday.
The ministry is actively considering amending the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Rules, 2004, and a notification in this regard is likely to be issued soon, they said. According to the draft notification, publishers of online curated content displaying tobacco products or their use will be required to display anti-tobacco health spots each of a minimum of 30 seconds at the beginning and middle of the programme, an official source told PTI.
They shall also be required to exhibit an anti-tobacco health warning as a prominent static message at the bottom of the screen when tobacco products or their use are displayed during the programme. Also, an audio-visual disclaimer of a minimum of 20 seconds on the ill effects of tobacco use should be displayed at the beginning and middle of the programme, the source stated. ''The anti-tobacco health warning message shall read as 'Tobacco causes cancer' or 'Tobacco kills'. Besides, the anti-tobacco health warning messages, health spots and audio-visual disclaimers will have to be in the same language as used in the online curated content.''
According to officials, the use of tobacco products and smoking are shown extensively in web series and movies streamed on OTT platforms and without any disclaimers in clear violation of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act, 2003. ''The OTT platforms, because of their huge popularity, play a crucial role in promoting tobacco use among children and youth in our country,'' an official said. Ranjit Singh, an advocate in the Supreme Court said amendment to the rules will truly make India a world champion in regulating tobacco promotion through entertainment medium. (THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS)