The Delhi High Court has stated that the goal of broadcasting offensive and offensive anti-tobacco imagery in the health commercials during movie showings in theatres, on television, and on OTT platforms is to educate people about the illnesses and negative impacts of using tobacco products. The court made this statement while rejecting a petition asking that the government be ordered to restrict the airing of anti-tobacco health advertisements during movie showings in theatres, on television, and on over-the-top (OTT) platforms, which contain graphic or offensive visuals.
New Delhi, The purpose of showing distasteful and gross anti-tobacco imagery in the health spots during film screenings in cinema halls and on television and OTT platforms is to make people aware of the ailments and ill-effects of consuming tobacco products, the Delhi High Court has said. The court’s observation came while dismissing a petition seeking directions to the government to prohibit the display of anti-tobacco health spots during film screenings in cinema halls and on television and OTT platforms, which have graphic or gross images.
The court said the petition was backed by the tobacco industry lobby to prevent the government from raising awareness against tobacco use, which is the sole cause for a number of ailments among people, and restrain authorities from ensuring that people do not become tobacco addicts.
The court also raised concerns over the abuse of the process of public interest litigation (PIL), which it said was actually a tool for providing a voice to the voiceless but is now being used for private gains.
“With a view to deter people from smoking tobacco and tobacco products, the Government of India has brought in advertisements to educate people about the ill-effects of tobacco and tobacco products.
“The graphic description given in these government-issued advertisements which, according to the petitioner, are gross and graphic imagery, are in fact meant to be eye-openers for the people not to use tobacco and tobacco products and is, therefore, in public interest,” Justice Subramonium Prasad said in an order that was passed earlier but made available on the court’s website on Tuesday.
The high court said the purpose of displaying distasteful, gross and graphic anti-tobacco imagery in the health spots played during the screening of movies and television programmes is only to make people aware of the ailments and ill-effects of consuming tobacco and tobacco products and show them what tobacco can do to their health.
The court said it is the duty of the State to take steps to ensure that the health of the citizens is protected and this petition is a gross abuse of the process of law.
Source: The Economic Times