Freedom Forum is concerned over the Bill on Management of Advertisement Regulation, 2018 which is under consideration in the parliament now. Some provisions on proposed bill are confusing, ambiguous, hostile to freedom of expression, and likely to overlap laws and lack compensation to the victim of advertised products, but intends to criminalization.
For lack of clear definition, various terms including ‘obscenity’ are likely to suppress freedom of expression. The bill’s Section 5 (sub-section 1) which falls under part 2 prohibits the promotion and encouragement of product and service prone to ‘obscenity’. One thing considered to obscene to one community may not be so to another one.
Similarly, the bill’s section 5 (sub-section 2) is likely to overlap the jurisdiction of laws. The bill incorporates the ‘contempt of court’, and ‘defamation issues’. With this, while taking legal action, the law relating to defamation would overlap with this.
The bill part 3 (section 15) includes the rights of advertisement board to prepare outline for examining advertisement contents which are broadcast through media. Clear watch over the board is required because in the name of regulation and formulating code to media for advertisement, the board may exercise more executive power.
The level of punishment with jail term is intended to criminalize the law, therefore it must be decriminalized. Instead of the jail term to the advertisers, the victims of the advertized products can be provided compensation.
These are preliminary observations of the Freedom Forum on the bill. Therefore, FF strongly urges the parliament to consider these points to make the bill tolerant to citizen’s rights.
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