Indian Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has issued a strict advisory to number of TV channels telecasting programmes that encourage superstition and blind belief.
According to the Advisory, many TV channels beam (so called) religious content and discourses from self-proclaimed Babas and Gurus who promote services and products that mislead the consumers.
The ministry has also taken strong objection to the fact that the programmes by Gurus and self-proclaimed healers are being shown for hours together are actually advertisements but are shown in a way leads viewers to believe they are watching normal unbiased programmes. This completely violates the advertising code contained in Cable Television Networks Rules, 1994.
What is quite interesting is, apart from wholly dedicated channels like Aastha TV, Sadhna TV, Zee Jagran and Bhakti TV, even many news channel have been beaming content related to Vastu and Astrology. These programmes are more often than not are sort of advertorials where TV viewers can ask questions to these Gurus and get remedies to their various problems.
Under the garb of providing solutions to the problem, they are actually advertising their products and services which a gullible consumer does not understand.
Cable Television Networks Act specifically puts forth the following:
“no advertisement shall contain references which are likely to lead the public to infer that the product advertised or any of its ingredients has some special or miraculous or super-natural property or quality, which is difficult of being proved”.
This is not the first time that Ministry has taken objection to such kind of content – On 13/05/2010, ministry had previously sent a similar advisory warning to TV channels restraining them from beaming content that promotes superstition and blind belief.
Here is the advisory sent my Broadcasting ministry to TV Channels on 7th June 2013: