Protect consumers against misleading ads: Minister

February 14th, 2012 - 8:41 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Feb 14 (IANS) Stating there is no need to control the media, the government Tuesday stressed on an enabling mechanism to curb misleading advertisements in order to protect consumer interests.

“Self regulation is laudable but existing time lag between a claim not supported by facts and corrective measures is not acceptable,” Consumer Affairs Minister K.V. Thomas told reporters here.

“There has to be an enabling mechanism between the government, media and industry. We are duty bound to protect interests of the consumers.”

He said though nationwide consultations have been carried out by an expert committee constituted for the purpose August last year, a national seminar will be held in Delhi in first week of March before an appropriate mechanism is finalised to deal with the issue.

Stating there are many laws to protect consumer interest, Thomas hinted the legislations may be remodified.

“Some laws may be remodified. There has to be better liaison between the centre and the state government,” said Thomas.

Secretary Consumer Affairs Rajeev Agrawal said a “dedicated agency” is being actively considered to take up complaints against misleading advertisements.

Sources said “the move aims to protect the consumer against advertisements promising false health and nutrition benefits” and “will cover advertisements across all mediums like electronic, print and hoardings.”

Sources said they have been taking note of misleading advertisements related to nutrition in food supplements, cosmetics and herbal products promising immediate health benefits.

Besides, the proposal will cover the services sector, for instance the get-rich-quick schemes, they said.

Sources said with TV becoming a strong medium, the chances of gullible consumers being taken for a ride by misleading advertisements have increased.

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