fifty years ago November 20, 1970 Archives

From the Archives (November 20, 1970): Question on sex in advertisements

A question on nudity and sex appeal in newspaper advertisements gave the Lok Sabha today [November 19, New Delhi] an opportunity to burst into peals of laughter. Mr. Raghuvir Singh Shastri, who asked the main question, flourished newspapers which, he said, were copies of a Bombay weekly containing photographs of nude women. He quoted from another Bombay weekly in which three girls had demanded publication of photographs of nude males and not the photographs of glamour girls alone. The Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting, Mr. I. K. Gujral, said the Centre was examining the question in all its aspects with a view to evolving suitable measures in consultation with the interests concerned to curb the tendency of exploiting sex appeal in advertisements. The Government was concerned with the problem but it was mainly the responsibility of the State Governments, he said. Concerned with the seriousness of the problem, Mr. Gujral said the Centre had written to the Chief Secretaries of the States. The All-India Newspaper Editors’ Conference had also written to its members drawing their attention to the problem. Some State Governments had also prosecuted some papers under the Indian Penal Code, he said. While Mr. Kamalnarayan Bajaj demanded strict action against the newspapers, Mr. Lobo Prabhu demanded the establishment of a censor board to curb sexy, obscene advertisements. Mr. Gujral said when casual advertisements appear in newspapers, it was difficult to take action. He appreciated Mr. Prabhu’s view that it was difficult to judge obscenity but disagreed with the suggestion that a censor board would solve the problem. While Mr. Raghubir Singh Shastri complained of an advertisement showing a boy and a girl under one blanket, Mr. Janeshwar Mishra said these advertisements were mostly seen by people above 50 (Laughter).

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