Campaign India Team
Mar 27, 2024

CCPA partners with ASCI to bolster advertising regulation in India

Cases concerning misleading advertisements escalated by ASCI will be ‘promptly addressed and handled in strict accordance with the Consumer Protection Act 2019 by the CCPA’ , as per the joint statement issued by the regulatory bodies

CCPA partners with ASCI to bolster advertising regulation in India
The Department of Consumer Affairs (DoCA) and the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) have jointly announced that the Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) will be working closely with the self-regulatory body to strengthen advertising regulation in the country.
Noting that the CCPA and the ASCI both operate with a mutual goal of protecting consumer interests, the consumer protection authority has requested the self-regulatory body to forward any advertisements that are 'non-compliant with the ASCI Code and could potentially violate the Consumer Protection Act, 2019, along with its accompanying guidelines, to CCPA for appropriate action. 
“Any such case escalated by ASCI concerning misleading advertisements will be promptly addressed and handled in strict accordance with the Consumer Protection Act 2019 by the CCPA,” the joint statement said.
The move is expected to create greater deterrence and support enforcement, it further added. 
This collaboration comes by way of the CCPA recognising that any violation of ASCI's code pertaining to misleading advertisements may potentially contravene the Consumer Protection Act of 2019 and its related guidelines, amid the growing complexity of the advertising landscape, especially with respect to digital advertising. 
Advertising self-regulators around the world work closely with governments in models of co-regulation in formal and informal ways, the statement issued by the regulatory bodies noted. 
Given the complexity of advertising today and the borderless nature of the online space, issues like disguised advertising, deepfakes and scams are coming to the fore, such partnerships gain significance in effective advertising regulation.
Commenting on this development, Rohit Kumar Singh, secretary of DoCA said, “The alignment between ASCI's code and CCPA's guidelines highlights a collective effort towards promoting transparency and fairness in advertising. With similar objectives, CCPA and ASCI can work in complementary ways to ensure that any infringements are addressed effectively.”
“New challenges are being created by digital advertising, and keeping pace demands a collaborative approach with like-minded bodies. Regulators working closely with self-regulators is an established best practice, and we hope that with this partnership, regulation of Indian advertising keeps getting more effective. Where voluntary compliance with the CCPA guidelines is not forthcoming, or in the case of repeat offenders, the CCPA has the powers to impose fines and penalties. We will not shy away from enforcing the provisions of the Consumer Protection Act as needed,” Singh further added.
Manisha Kapoor, CEO and secretary-general ASCI added, “We have been working closely with DoCA and CCPA on several issues, and we are truly delighted to deepen this relationship. ASCI has deep expertise and specialisation in advertising regulation and we thank CCPA and DoCA for their trust and their collaborative approach. A robust self-regulatory system helps all stakeholders and this partnership is a positive step in taking self-regulation to the next level.”
The DoCA and ASCI have in recent times, held joint consultations and collaborations on several issues surrounding advertising such as Influencer Guidelines, Greenwashing, Dark Patterns and Surrogate Advertising, creating greater dialogue and alignment between industry, civil society and regulators. 
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