International media has a field day reporting India’s condom ads ban 

Reporting the I&B Ministry order, most of the international media branded Indian society as conservative and regressive

Photo courtesy : social media
Photo courtesy : social media

Uzma Imran

The ministry of Information and Broadcasting has ordered the TV channels not to broadcast the advertisement of condoms between the time of 6am-10pm. Such advertisements create obscenity, indecency and are unhealthy especially for the children, the advisory said.

The step taken by the government has brought a lot of negativity and criticism on the image of the country which led BJP to become the butt of jokes by the media from all around the world.

BJP has an older obsession with condoms and has also earned ridicule for it. Earlier also, Gyan Dev Ahuja, a BJP MLA had stoked controversy by saying that in JNU about 3,000 used condoms are daily found and he called the institute a ‘sex den’. It only shows that the ruling party though has banned the advertisement of condoms yet has this uncanny habit of ‘counting’ the used condoms!

The foreign media has reported the news with certain ‘opinions’ along with it about Indian society.

Sex remains a taboo subject in India, a broadly conservative and traditional country, reported by Mail Online, an UK based website.

Talking openly about contraception and sex is still largely taboo in India, reported the BBC News.

"If the idea is that it sex is indecent, then why only restrict condom ads when other types of sexual content are freely available?" said Child psychologist to BBC, citing how easy it was for children to access pornography on the internet. “Condoms could be a healthy way to start conversations about safe sex” he added.

The country’s population currently stands around 1.3 billion, and within the next decade India is expected to pass China and become the world’s most populous nation. The government has spent huge amounts of money trying to control the meteoric population growth, incentivising vasectomies and other forms of birth control.

The Guardian quoted “Family planning advocates said they were disappointed by the order in a country where awareness of condoms’ benefits is high, but their use remains stubbornly low – limited to about 5 per cent of men”.

“India is a backward country and we need to reach out to more people with more and more advertising, not less,” said Poonam Muttreja to The New York Times, the executive director of the Population Foundation of India, a private organisation. “There are 13 per cent unwanted pregnancies in India, there are nearly 15 million abortions. Condoms are one of the few methods of birth control which prevent H.I.V. and unwanted pregnancies. And they have no side effects.” she added.

For months, conservative groups in India have been complaining about condom manufacturers’ risqué ads. One of the most titillating features Sunny Leone, a former actress in X-rated videos, undressing piece by piece. So, India’s government stepped in this week, declaring condom commercials “indecent”.

“It is a very romantic ad,” Ms. Muttreja said. “What’s wrong with romance?”

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Published: 13 Dec 2017, 5:35 PM