MoIC preparing draft of Advertisement Act

Kathmandu, August 7

The government has started the process to introduce a regulatory provision to oversee the advertisement industry in the country.

The Ministry of Information and Communications (MoIC) has initiated the process to develop the draft of Advertisement Act stating that numerous issues have surfaced lately, as the country’s advertisement industry has so far been left unfettered.

“Due to lack of regulatory provisions to guide the advertisement industry, it is operating in chaos and in lack of clarity at present. Apart from no clear demarcation on ads and notices, people are easily deceived about the quality of services and products by the information disseminated through the advertisements,” said MoIC Secretary Mahendra Man Gurung.

He informed that the ministry will finish preparing the draft of the Advertisement Act within three months and implement it as soon as possible.

Though various advertisements published and broadcast in different media are not based on the facts and only aim to grab the attention of the public, Gurung said that the government has not been able to take action against such ‘misleading’ advertisements owing to lack of regulations.

“Advertisements that claim to heal ailments with the use of some specific products or transform people’s fate following consumption of specific product or service are not rooted on facts. In a bid to curb such ill practices in the advertisement industry, a strong regulatory intervention is a must,” Gurung added.

Informing that the government was unable to implement the ‘clean feed’ policy in Nepal also due to the lack of strong regulatory provisions in the advertisement sector, Gurung said that the draft of the Advertisement Act will focus on promoting healthy growth of advertisement industry in the country.

Through the Advertisement Act, MoIC plans to define advertisements, differentiate between advertisements and notices, categorise advertisements on the basis of their purpose, set limitations and themes, along with other various parameters.

MoIC felt the urgency to regulate the advertisement industry also considering the pace at which it is expanding. It is believed that billions of rupees have been invested in Nepal’s advertisement industry and the annual turnover is estimated at almost Rs six billion.

MoIC has given top priority to formulating the Advertisement Act in the current fiscal. However, the newly-appointed Minister for Information and Communications Mohan Bahadur Basnet has recently unveiled his other 30 priorities in information and communications sector of Nepal in 2017-18.

MoIC’s priorities for ongoing fiscal include implementing merger and acquisition policy for domestic telecoms within three months, setting up free wi-fi hotspots in different areas of  the Valley, expediting process of importing internet bandwidth from China, delivering broadband facilities in various rural municipalities, among others.