Due to Absence of knowledge and poor awareness amongst people is a barrier to achieving the target of zero AIDS infection by the year 2020. Condoms are the affordable and most suitable mode of protection against sexually transmitted diseases and undesired pregnancy. And with the new order declared by the Information and Broadcasting Ministry to ban the broadcast of condoms commercials from 6 am to 10 pm may not help in decreasing the stigma and discrimination associated with the disease.
India is one of the most populated nations in the world. We are the third-largest hub for AIDS patients. And one recent news report claims a 400 percent rise in sexually transmitted diseases since 1981. Take your pick from the grim statistics, but whichever way you look at it, the sensible solution would be a public awareness campaign through print, social media and indeed television.
All films, even ad films are certified by the Central Board of Film Certification. One presumes condom ads go through the same process before being deemed fit for the general audience on TV. Did a particular ad offend someone? If so, we have the Advertising Standards Council of India to complain to. Whichever way you look at it, an unexplainable ban on condom ads by the I&B ministry is an overreach. That it has not been revealed and we are left to draw our conclusions makes it worse.
Who does this ban seek to protect? If the target is children, then surely they are in school for much of that time and safely in bed, or ought to be, after 8 pm. Much of the harm over the ban on condom ads have continued on the fact that condoms are a medical product. These ads are, therefore, necessary. We have probably come a long way since Nirodh to a new generation of brands with names like Manforce and Kamasutra; the product itself is now available in a variety of colours, flavours and textures. It’s a pleasure principle that guides rather than the practical message of Chota Parivaar.
National sex surveys published by mainstream magazines talk of an explosion in sexual activity in middle-class India. A ban on anything, leave alone condom ads, is objectionable. We require them to teach us about mature sex which prevents unwanted pregnancy, respects approval and choice. If you have an issue with a particular ad, take it up at the right forum. You cannot have a blanket ban on the entire product line.
Meanwhile, we advise you to use a condom because precaution is better than cure.