ASCI will continue to work with newly formed govt regulator: Subhash Kamath

Subhash Kamath, new chairman of the ASCI
Putting to rest concerns on its role getting clipped, the new chairman of the Advertising Standards Council India (ASCI), Subhash Kamath, has pointed out that the self-regulatory body will continue to work with the newly formed government regulator, Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA), because both want to protect consumer interests and ensure responsible advertising.

The CCPA has been set under the newly notified Consumer Protection Act, 2019, which gives the body powers to take action against misleading advertisements.

Kamath, who is also chief executive officer of BBH & Publicis Worldwide, India, said: “The ASCI has four chapters that define their role — looking at misleading claims, things offensive and indecent, those unsafe or harmful for consumers, and also unfairness in competition. The CCPA is concentrating mostly on the first chapter. Our record of compliance, at over 90 per cent, has been fantastic because our members sign up to follow the code. We have been self-regulating for 35 years.”

Kamath pointed out the structure in the country was no different than those in other countries, where self-regulatory bodies work with government regulators. 

“You see the same model in the US with the Federal Trade Commission, or in Europe and Australia. There government regulators work with self-regulatory bodies because the goals are the same. To give an analogy just because there are the police, you do not stop teaching your children the difference between good and bad.” 

The concern that its role might be shrunk arose because the Consumer Protection Act, 2019, which was notified last month, says it is the CCPA that will both regulate false and misleading advertising and also take action to punish offenders, whether through fines, discontinuance, altering the ad, or even jail.

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