Bureau, New Delhi
The OOH advertising medium which always stays under the knife of authorities get scrutinised by the Election Commission of India as well. In the coming state-elections to be conducted in 5 states, no OOH hoarding will be allowed to showcase the images of any political leader or minister.
The Election Commission Board has issued a statement asking photos to be removed or cover suitably on the hoardings that publicise achievements of a party or functionary in keeping with the model code of conduct.
Advertisements paid for/by public money that publicise achievements of political functionaries or parties violate the conduct code, the poll panel said. The authority has put a ban on the usage of the public resources or any other authorise expenditure from the public exchequer to be utilised for particular party benefits especially to enhance a particular person or its party’s image.
However, only the advertisements communicating general messages to the masses on family planning and social welfare schemes are allowed to go up on billboards.
“…all those hoardings, advertisements which seek or purport to project the achievements of any living political functionary or political party and which carry their photos or name or party symbol should be removed forthwith,” the report states.
The election commission has also asked candidates to furnish a no-objection certificate (NOC) from owners of private properties where their posters or hoardings are put up, failing which costs will be added to their expense accounts.
Well, this recommendation issued to conduct the fair elections can become harsh for the OOH advertising industry. The industry, which pegs big on the political campaigns for their revenue generation, may have to seek some satisfaction from the DAVP advertisements & other public welfare campaigns. However, while talking in number, the hit is quite big because the UPA government spent about an average of 504 crore rupees per year on publicity during its 10 year rule. The NDA in its first year spent 993 crore rupees. The average amount spent during UPA’s first term was 312 crore rupees per year. This amount more than doubled during their second term and it spent an average of 696 crore rupees per year. And almost 7-10% of their budgets used to go to the OOH advertising.