03/10/2015 12:56 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST

Squeamish Government Moots Restricting Condom Ads To 'Late Night Hours'

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Indian supporters of the Hindu right wing Sanskriti Bachao (Save the Culture) organisation tear down a poster advertising condoms in Bhopal on January 14, 2010. The right wing outfit in central India has ordered shopkeepers to remove lingerie advertisements and mannequins displaying undergarments while condemning condom advertisements as they consider them to be obscene and against traditional Indian values. AFP PHOTO/STR (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)

First the government came for pornography and the brouhaha caused it to backtrack. Now, the Telegraph finds that the Centre is examining a proposal to confine television ads for condoms to late-night hours.

An official in the information and broadcasting ministry told the newspaper that there had been a spurt in requests to ban condom ads on television. "A ban is out of question. So, the matter being discussed is whether their broadcast can be restricted to certain hours which fall after family viewing time," he said.

Television content is classified into two groups - general (G) and restricted (R).

While general content is considered suitable for unrestricted viewing, the restricted content can only be aired between 11pm and 5am and is not intended for young viewers.

The move for the ban came after a "slew of complaints" that contemporary ads portrayed condoms as "pleasure enhancers" and thus encouraged free sex.

Following widespread outrage on social media on the Department of Telecom's order blocking 857 porn websites, the government took a step back and partially lifted the ban saying that only child porn sites would be black. However internet service providers said it was impossible for them to sit through sites that exclusively hosted child porn from more general pornographic sites. In effect, the 'ban' still remain though there are easy ways to get around it.

That the government is even considering a restriction on broadcasting condom ads, comes even as it struggles to find effective channels of imparting coherent messages on sexual health and safe sex to juveniles.

On Saturday, the police in Pilibhit, Uttar Pradesh, said they've apprehended a nine-year-old boy on charges of rape. The boy, apparently "confessed" to the crime.

The victim was a six-year-old girl in Maithi, Pilibhit and medical examination confirmed the sexual assault.

A Bareilly-based woman activist, Praveen Bhandari told the Times of India that the cause of such an incident was because "children (were) over-exposed to pornography on internet, TV and movies."

State president of All India Democratic Women's Association Madhu Garg added that, "There is a need to provide counselling to children and give them proper sex education. In most of the instances of juvenile crimes related to rape, it has been observed that children, who reside in one-room houses, are exposed to sex from an early age. In the absence of proper guidance, it creates a desire for sex among minors, which may instigate child rape."

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