IAMAI Urges Supreme Court to Scrap New Self-Certification Ad Rules to Safeguard Digital Economy

New Delhi, [Date]: The Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) has filed a petition with the Supreme Court, seeking to overturn the recently implemented regulations mandating advertisers to submit self-declaration certificates prior to running advertisements on television, print, or online platforms. These regulations, which came into effect on June 18, are aimed at curbing misleading advertisements but are perceived by the IAMAI as detrimental to the digital economy’s growth.

The IAMAI, a nonprofit organization comprising around 600 members from various sectors including startups and multinational corporations, argues that while the intent to prevent deceptive advertising is commendable, the new rules could severely disrupt the online advertising ecosystem. The association’s petition, details of which were obtained by Mint, emphasized the importance of online ads which allow businesses to measure and adjust their advertising campaigns in real time, thus enabling more effective targeting and enhanced sales outcomes. The new regulations could potentially slow down or halt these online ad campaigns.

“The main issue lies with digital advertisements where the volume is significantly higher than that of TV, print, or radio ads. For example, if a company releases 20 digital ads in a day, adhering to the self-declaration requirement could demand extensive resources, thus impeding the inherent advantages of digital ads like speed and adaptability,” explained a tech policy and legal consultant from Delhi.

Further, the IAMAI has suggested that existing laws, such as the Information Technology Act and Consumer Protection Rules, already provide comprehensive measures to address misleading advertisements online. The association recommends that better enforcement of these existing laws would be more effective in protecting consumers rather than imposing new restrictions.

The petition also reflects on the pivotal role of online advertising in fostering economic opportunities, particularly highlighted during the pandemic when many businesses transitioned to online operations. A report by GroupM projects that digital advertisements are expected to comprise 57% of total advertising revenue in India by 2024, underscoring their critical importance to the nation’s economy.

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In its plea, IAMAI has urged the Supreme Court to reconsider the self-declaration rule and has called for collaborative consultations with the government to devise a solution that balances consumer protection with the growth and dynamism of the digital economy.

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