Centre objects to flouting of anti-tobacco rules by film streaming companies

Centre objects to flouting of anti-tobacco rules by film streaming companies

 The Union Health Ministry has written to the telecom regulator, TRAI, over online movie and TV programme streaming platforms allegedly flouting anti- tobacco rules by not displaying messages and warnings during smoking scenes.

The ministry has asked the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) to issue an advisory to these companies to comply with the anti-tobacco rules.

While the rules are well implemented in films screened in movie theatres, the films and TV programmes streamed using internet like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hotstar, Voot and Hungama among others are "not fully compliant" to these rules, the letter said
"These companies are violating anti-tobacco norms by not running anti-tobacco messages during smoking scenes in movies and television programmes," according to a senior health ministry official.

As per the rules, all films and TV programmes, while displaying tobacco products or their use, are required to run anti-tobacco health spots of minimum 30 seconds at the beginning and middle of the programme, the letter said.

Also, the rules mandate display of anti-tobacco health warning as a prominent static message at the bottom of the screen during the period of display of the tobacco products or their use in the television programmes.

They are also required to submit a strong editorial justification explaining the necessity of display of tobacco products or their usage in the film to the Central Board of Film Certification, the letter said.

An audio visual disclaimer on the ill-effects of tobacco use in the beginning and middle of the film or television programmes is also necessary. They should be of minimum 20 seconds duration each.

The Ministry of Health notified the Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce,Production, Supply and distribution) (second amendment rules) 2011 and 2012 to regulate the depiction of tobacco products or their use in films and TV programmes.

These rules are applicable to all Indian as well as Foreign films and TV programmes screened in India.

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