The government issues another recommendation against online betting and gambling ads

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting on Thursday advised media companies, media platforms and online advertising intermediaries not to broadcast advertising/promotional content from betting platforms.

In a recommendation issued today, the Ministry took strong offense at the recent cases of mainstream English and Hindi newspapers containing advertisements and promotional content from betting sites. The recommendation was issued to all media formats, including newspapers, TV stations and online news publishers, and showed concrete examples of where such advertisements have recently appeared in the media.

The ministry has also objected to advertising by a certain betting platform encouraging audiences to watch a sports league on its site, in what appears to be a breach of the Copyright Act 1957.

Emphasizing the legal obligation as well as the moral duty of the media, the guide refers to provisions of the Press Council’s Standards of Journalistic Conduct which, among other things, mention that “Newspapers should not publish advertisements that contain anything unlawful or illegal…. ……..”, and further that “the newspapers and magazines should review the advertisement submissions from both an ethical and a legal point of view with regard to the responsibility of the publisher for all content including the advertisement in accordance with Section 7 of the PRB- Act of 1867. Revenue generation alone cannot and should not be the sole aim of the press, which faces a far greater public responsibility.

The Department had previously issued notices in June and October 2022 stating that betting and gambling are illegal and therefore direct or substitute advertising for such activities violates the Consumer Protection Act 2019, the Press Council Act 1978, Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules , 2021, and other relevant laws.

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