The government on Thursday cautioned media organisations against carrying advertisements of betting platforms, days after mainstream English and Hindi newspapers carried such promotional content.
The Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has taken strong exception to the recent instances of mainstream English and Hindi newspapers carrying advertisements and promotional content of betting websites.
In an advisory, the ministry advised media entities, media platforms and online advertisement intermediaries to refrain from carrying advertisements or promotional content of betting platforms.
An official statement said the advisory has been issued to all media formats, including newspapers, television channels, and online news publishers and showed specific examples of such advertisements appearing in the media in recent times.
The ministry also objected to the promotion by a specific betting platform encouraging the audience to watch a sports league on its website that prima facie appears to be in violation of the Copyright Act, of 1957.
The advisory noted that the provisions of the Norms of Journalistic Conduct of the Press Council of India mention that "newspapers should not publish an advertisement containing anything which is unlawful or illegal."
"The newspapers and periodicals should scrutinise the advertisement inputs from ethical as well as legal angles in view of the editor's responsibility for all contents including the advertisement, under Section 7 of PRB Act, 1867. Revenue generation alone cannot and should not be the sole aim of the Press, juxtaposed with much larger public responsibility," it said, quoting the Norms of Journalistic Conduct.
Last year, the ministry issued advisories stating that betting and gambling were illegal and, hence, direct or surrogate advertisements of such activities fall foul of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019, the Press Council Act, 1978, Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021, and other relevant statutes.