Press Council Mandates Self-Declaration Certificates for Ad Claims

Press Council Mandates Self-Declaration Certificates for ad Claims

On June 18, 2024, the Supreme Court issued a directive prompting the Press Council of India (PCI) to introduce new guidelines for advertisers. From now on, advertisers and agencies must obtain a self-declaration certificate before publishing ads. This certificate ensures the accuracy and truthfulness of advertisement claims.

New Requirements for Advertisers

Starting June 18, 2024, PCI requires all advertisements to include a self-declaration certificate. Advertisers need to email this certificate, along with their ad materials, to the booking team. Without this certificate, your ad will not be printed. However, government ads, tenders, public notices, and obituaries are exempt from this requirement. Classified ads are generally exempt, but those related to consumer products and services will still need certification.

Details of the Self-Declaration Certificate

Any claim about the benefit or sale of a product or service mentioned in the Release Order will need certification. If you are publishing in multi-city editions with consistent brand content, one certificate will suffice. However, different language editions will require separate certificates. Ideally, the client should share the certificate. If this is not possible, they can authorize the ad agency to share it on their behalf.

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How to Apply for the Certificate

Advertisers can generate the self-declaration certificate for print ads through the Press Council of India’s website. Authorized representatives from advertisers or ad agencies can submit the necessary details online to obtain the certificate. Following the Supreme Court order, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) also issued a directive requiring new ads to have the SDC from June 18. For TV and radio ads, generate the SDC through the Broadcast Seva portal. For print and digital ads, use the PCI website.

Impact on Freelancers and Agencies

The new government ad policy for 2024 significantly impacts freelancers and advertising agencies. Performance marketers now need to adhere to stringent guidelines, ensuring ethical promotion and accurate data usage. Additionally, the new rules introduce mandatory certifications for freelancers, which elevate professional standards within the industry. While some foresee challenges in adapting to these advertising industry changes, the move aims to foster trust and credibility in the advertising sector.

“According to the statement, government ads, tenders, public notices, and obituaries are exempted. Moreover, classified ads are also exempt, except those related to consumer products and services, which need certification.”

Industry Reactions and Actions

Several industry bodies have raised concerns about the timeline for implementing these new guidelines. The Association of Radio Operators for India (AROI), the Indian Newspaper Society (INS), the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), and the Broadband India Forum (BIF) have filed applications in the Supreme Court seeking clarity on the SDC mandate. Other groups, like the Indian Broadcasting and Digital Foundation (IBDF), the Indian Society of Advertisers (ISA), and the Advertising Agencies Association of India (AAAI), are considering involvement as well.

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Stay Compliant and Informed

Applying for the self-declaration certificate is straightforward. For print and digital ads, visit the Press Council of India website. For TV and radio ads, use the Broadcast Seva portal. Fill out the necessary details and submit your application online. Once approved, download the certificate and include it with your ad materials.