India has slapped a nationwide ban on television ads for condoms during prime time hours, citing rules prohibiting “vulgar” content and concerns over children viewing salacious material.
The information and broadcasting ministry ordered India’s estimated 900 television channels to restrict condom commercials to between 10pm and 6am, threatening repercussions if the ads fall outside graveyard hours.
“All TV channels are hereby advised not to telecast the advertisements of condoms which are (a) for particular age group and could be indecent for viewing by children,” the order said Monday.
It also cited broadcasting regulations prohibiting “indecent, vulgar, suggestive, repulsive or offensive themes”.
India’s public and private television channels beam into nearly 183 million households across the country, data from the Broadcast Audience Research Council industry group shows.
Sex remains a taboo subject in India, a broadly conservative and traditional country, and condom ads have stirred up controversy in the past.
In September, India’s largest trading body successfully lobbied for condom billboards featuring a former porn star be pulled down in Gujarat state, citing religious sensitivities.
In lodging its protest, the trade body accused the condom manufacturer of putting “India’s cultural value at stake” by promoting contraceptives on the eve of a Hindu festival.