Publishers of online curated content that display tobacco products or their use will now be required to comply with specific guidelines of the Health Ministry. These guidelines were issues yesterday (May 31) – the World No-Tobacco Day. Any failure to do so will invite strict action. An inter-ministerial committee comprising representatives from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, and Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has been set up to look into any related complaint. The committee can also take suo moto action wherever it deems fit.
“It is time to create awareness among youth and the nation regarding the seriously debilitating and harmful effects of tobacco consumption,” says Union Health Minister Dr Mansukh Mandaviya mooting the idea to start a Lok Bhagidari campaign in mission mode through Jan Abhiyaan. “The OTT guidelines will go a long way to dissuade tobacco consumption,” he adds. Following is the gist of new rules issued on OTT platforms:
Health spots, messages, and disclaimers
Publishers of online curated content that display tobacco products or their use will have to include the display of anti-tobacco health spots, lasting a minimum of 30 seconds each at the beginning and middle of the program. Anti-tobacco health warnings have to be a prominent static message at the bottom of the screen during the display of tobacco products or their use. Additionally, an audio-visual disclaimer on the ill-effects of tobacco use, lasting a minimum of 20 seconds each, must be shown at the beginning and middle of the program.
Access to content
The health spots, messages, and disclaimers will be made available to the publisher of the online curated content on the government website.
Legibility and language
The anti-tobacco health warning message displayed as a static message must be legible and readable, with black font on a white background, and must include the warnings Tobacco causes cancer or Tobacco kills. Furthermore, the health warning message, health spot, and audio-visual disclaimer should be in the same language as used in the online curated content.
Limitations on display
The display of tobacco products or their use in online curated content is prohibited from including the brands of cigarettes or other tobacco products or any form of tobacco product placement. Additionally, the display of tobacco products or their use in promotional materials is strictly prohibited.