The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) has updated its code to broaden the definition of inclusivity in advertising depictions.
The code now includes other areas of possible discrimination or derision, like gender identity and sexual orientation, body shape, age, and physical and mental conditions.
Previously, it was limited to race, caste, creed, gender or nationality.
The changes to the ASCI code were recently approved by the board.
Any advertisement that demeans any individual on the existing or new areas, will be considered in violation of the ASCI Code.
The updated clause, which is part of Chapter 3 pertaining to advertisements that cause harm, reads as follows:
3.1. No advertisement shall be permitted which:
(b) Derides any individual or groups on the basis of race, caste, color, religion, gender, body shape, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, physical or mental conditions or nationality.
Manisha Kapoor, CEO and secretary general, ASCI, said,“We have seen consumers call out ads that mock or deride people, or portray them in unfavourable ways. And it is only right that advertising becomes more inclusive and sensitive to this. It is not acceptable for example, to associate characteristics such as sluggishness with a certain body shape. Similarly, to deride someone with a physical or mental ailment, or their gender identity would now violate the ASCI code. With this change, ASCI hopes to ensure that advertising becomes more inclusive and sensitised to all sections of our country, and does not perpetuate certain portrayals that have no place in a progressive society.”