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Ministry of I and B issues Advisory to Media to refrain from Promoting Betting Platforms

New Delhi: The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has today issued a warning to media organizations, media platforms, and online ad intermediaries asking them not to run betting platform advertisements or promotional material.

Government issues advisory to Newspapers registered under Press and Registration of Books Act, 1867, Private Satellite Television Channels, Publishers of news and current affairs content on digital media and Online Advertisement Intermediaries.

The Ministry has expressed strong opposition to recent occurrences of major English and Hindi newspapers publishing ads and promotional content for betting websites in an advisory that was released today. The Advisory provided specific examples of recent instances of these ads in the media and was distributed to all media formats, including newspapers, television networks, and online news publishers.

The Ministry has also taken issue with a particular betting platform’s advertising encouraging website visitors to watch a sports league, which on the surface appears to be a violation of the Copyright Act of 1957.

While emphasizing on the legal obligation as well as the moral duty of the media, the Advisory refers to provisions of the Norms of Journalistic Conduct of the Press Council which, interalia, mentions that “newspapers should not publish an advertisement containing anything which is unlawful or illegal…………”, and further that “The newspapers and periodicals should scrutinize the advertisement inputs from ethical as well as legal angles in view of the editor’s responsibility for all contents including advertisement, under Section 7 of PRB Act, 1867. Revenue generation alone cannot and should not be the sole aim of the Press, juxtaposed much larger public responsibility”.

The Ministry had earlier issued Advisories in the months of June and October, 2022 stating that betting and gambling are illegal, and hence direct or surrogate advertisements of such activities falls 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.

The Advisory issued today can be accessed at the link: https://mib.gov.in/sites/default/files/06.04.2023%20Advisory%20on%20Betting%20Advertisements.pdf

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