India: New pictures?

Feb 15, 2012

This time, when the Directorate of Advertising and Visual Publicity (DAVP) chooses the new set of pictorial warnings for tobacco products they will have to be extra careful.

With the earlier photo – a blurred image that appeared to be resembling footballer John Terry – creating trouble, the Union health ministry has asked the DAVP to give them more options of photos for the tobacco manufacturers, mandating that pictures should be ‘general’.

The health ministry had got into a controversy due to the earlier photo with the managers of England and Chelsea skipper John Terry stating that they will initiate legal action against the Indian government.

While, the health ministry has decided not to ‘withdraw’ that photo clarifying that the photo was developed by the DAVP in consultations with them and the pictures were mere sketches which did not relate to any person living or dead. The officials are of the view that the new photos will give a wider choice to the manufacturers.

“We have asked the DAVP to give at least four new options. This will give the companies a wider choice as it will be their decision to use one of the photos out of the shortlisted ones. Once they have enough options with them they will not make attempts to scuttle pictorial warnings,” said a senior official in the ministry.

Union health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, who held the meeting with the senior officials in the health ministry recently, has asked the officials to convey to the DAVP that the photos should be general, mostly depicting health-related problems caused due to excessive intake of tobacco.

The health ministry had earlier changed the photos from mild to harsh and gory pictures last year after the DAVP submitted pictures showing different facets of mouth cancer and lung cancer to the Union health ministry.

The warnings were notified after the health minister approved it. The warnings were for both smokeless and smoking form of tobacco products.

Source: Deccan Chronicle (February 13, 2012)