Indians question curbs on condom adverts


International desk, December 12: Indians are questioning the merits of a government order banning condom adverts from being broadcast on primetime TV.The information and broadcasting ministry says the adverts may only be shown between 10pm and 6am because they could be “indecent for children”.

Some Indians found the directive regressive, but others agreed that many condom ads were “vulgar” and inappropriate for younger viewers.

Talking openly about contraception and sex is still largely taboo in India.

The ministry order cited broadcasting regulations banning “indecent, vulgar, suggestive, repulsive or offensive themes”.

“All TV channels are hereby advised not to telecast the advertisements of condoms which are for a particular age group and could be indecent for viewing by children,” it said.

Child psychologist Achal Bhagat told the BBC the decision was questionable.

“If the idea is that it sex is indecent, then why only restrict condom ads when other types of sexual content are freely available?” he said, citing how easy it was for children to access pornography on the internet.

Dr Bhagat said condoms could be a healthy way to start conversations about safe sex.

“We should focus on more points of conversation for our children where we can be open with them, rather than worry about them being spoiled. What is more worrying is this decision seems to have been made in a very patriarchal context that does not take choices into account.”