Delhi, 30 Sept: The Directorate of Information and Publicity has created a roadblock for the Aam Aadmi Party government for its latest advertisement that is targeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi and accusing the central government’s I-T department of harassing small businessmen.
The advertisement department raised objections by citing that it “violates” Supreme Court guidelines about the content of government ads and directed the Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi government not to go forward with the advertisement.
A senior official of the department asserted that the advertisement was “making allegations against the Prime Minister” and “it would not be appropriate to make allegations against the PM in a government advertisement.”
It pointed out that it would be “inappropriate” to comment on political promises in a government advertisement. It lamented that as the purpose of the advertisement was “political” — it was based on an official communication to the PM — issuing such an advertisement at the expense of the public exchequer, to make the letter public, was “un-warranted”.
The communication also pointed out that no government department had “taken ownership of the advertisement.”
“SC guidelines prescribe that heads of government departments and agencies shall be responsible for ensuring compliance with these guidelines and shall follow a procedure of certification of compliance before advertisements are released to the media. The present advertisement is not owned by any HOD and hence it is not known who is responsible for ensuring compliance of the guidelines,” stated the communication.
The department’s “advise” comes a month after the Comptroller and Auditor General, in an audit report of the Delhi government’s spending on advertisements and publicity, inferred that the expenditure had surged from the previous government’s Rs 25.25 crore in 2013-14 to Rs 81.23 crore in 2015-16.