Hemant Misra seems to be batting for celebrities in his piece, "Why guide when you can penalise?" (September 1) by inventing alibis for the lack of government guidelines on the matter of celebrity endorsements.
In a democracy like India everyone is entitled to have a different opinion, but this often leads to such a paradoxical situation that we are influenced to accept certain things even if the facts speak otherwise.
Celebrity endorsements have become a bone of contention due to the fact that some of the nationally advertised products do not pass the real test of reliability and customer satisfaction. Unsuspecting consumers often take at face value what well-known personalities, who often act as brand ambassadors, promote in the advertisements.
The key concern is that these celebrities have made deep inroads into the world of food, health and inhabitation and the most alluring zone, cosmetics. Can Misra justify the endorsement of products, which are injurious to health, by some of them knowing well their harmful effects on health? Is a top-rated celebrity justified in endorsing the purity of a product without first verifying the claim herself?
Many a health-related product advertised by a celebrity claims to produce magical results in a few seconds. How can celebrities take for granted the concerns of the common man in this respect? They are not doing charity through their appearance in the ads, are they? Somebody should be held responsible for what is being peddled to the public through the prism of advertisements.
What is wrong if we, too, emulate the practices followed in several parts of the world, whereby celebrities are held liable if they influence the choices made by ordinary people to their detriment? It is naive to assume that bringing in guidelines, as Misra suggests, will make a real difference in our country.
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