Advertisement Law in Nepal

18 October 2022

1) GOVERNING LAWS:

Advertisement matters in Nepal are subject to various prevailing laws and regulations. Article 19 of the Constitution of Nepal ensures the right to communication through means of press, electronic broadcasting and telephone as part offundamental rights. The Advertisement Regulation Act, 2019 defines advertisement as “any word, sentence, drawing, image, symbol, poster, pamphlet, publication, sign, structure or any other audio, visual or audio-visual publication or prepared for publication in public regarding any product, service, event or occasion through the means including print, electronic media, online, social networks, hoarding board, balloon.”

The primary laws governing the matters of advertisement in Nepal are as follows:

a) Constitution of Nepal (2015) (“Constitution of Nepal”);

b) Advertisement (Regulation) Act, 2019 (“Advertisement Regulation Act”); and

c) Advertisement (Regulation) Rules, 2020 (“Advertisement Rules”).

In addition to the aforementioned laws, various directives, code of conduct and standards relating to advertisement have been issued by the Advertisement Board (“Board”).

2) SCOPE OF LAWS:

The primary scope of the advertisement laws is to integrate and manage advertisement to bring together all media persons and media houses and institutions engaged in the advertisement sector.

3) APPLICABILITY OF LAWS:

The aforementioned advertisement laws are applicable during the production, distribution, publication and transmission of objects, services or any kinds of advertisement in Nepal.

4) OBJECTIVE OF ADVERTISEMENT:

Advertisement can be made for the following purposes:

a) To promote self-selling services by mentioning the features of the services;

b)To make aware to the consumers and inform about a product or service for selection to the consumers;

c) To provide information about a program or event; and

d) To provide information relating to public welfare.

5) LICENSING FOR ADVERTISEMENT THROUGH HOARDING BOARD:

The Advertisement Regulation Act allows any person to advertise through hoarding board in determined size without harming or obstructing public roads or public land. A person is required to file an application at the concerned local level authority to obtain license for advertisement through hoarding board pursuant to the Advertisement Regulation Act.  

6) ENLISTMENT OF ADVERTISING AGENCY:

An advertisement agency must be enlisted at the Board by submitting the following details and information:

a) Certificate of incorporation and relevant renewal documents;

b) Latest tax clearance certificate;

c) Statement of annual turnover of such agency;

e) Statement of capital structure of such agency; and

f) Details of other documents specified by the Board.

An enlisted advertising agency must be renewed within the end of 6 (six) months of every fiscal year.

7) RESTRICTIONS ON ADVERTISEMENT:

The Advertisement Regulation Act prohibits advertisement relating to the following subject matters:  

a) Encouragement on production, sales, distribution, utilization or use of any products, substances or services which is prohibited by the prevailing laws for production, sales, distribution, utilization or use;

b) Encouragement for gambling or unauthorized betting which is regulated without obtaining permission pursuant to prevailing laws;

c) Encouragement for use or preservation of any matters, goods or service which is deemed to be obscene under prevailing laws;

d) Encouragement on production, sales, distribution or use of any weapons, explosives and similar products;

e) Sale of medicines without recommendation of doctors;

f) Matters or services which have not obtained approvals as per prevailing laws for distribution or use;

g) Advertisement of matters that have been prohibited pursuant to the prevailing laws;

h) Advertisement in the books of schools and universities except for educational information; and

i) Encouragement of superstition.

8) CLEAN FEED PUBLICATION OR BROADCAST:

The Advertisement Regulation Act prohibits the foreign channels which are broadcasting in Nepal to broadcast foreign advertisements. The Act further prohibits the broadcasting of foreign advertisements dubbed in Nepali language through Nepali channels.

9) DECLARATION OF ADVERTISEMENT PROHIBITED AREA:

Local level authority may declare the various religious, cultural, archeological sites, educational or health institution or for a specified distance from these areas as restricted areas for advertisement as per the standards determined by the Board.

The information relating to the restricted area for advertisement must be made public.

10) FUNCTIONS, DUTIES AND POWERS OF ADVERTISEMENT BOARD:

The Advertisement Regulation Act recognizes the Board as a regulating authority to govern the advertisement activities in Nepal. The Board is comprised of 9 (nine) members to carry out the functions relating to the regulation of advertisements.

The functions, duties and powers of the Board are as follows:

a) To make recommendation to the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (“Ministry”) by determining the national policy relating to advertisement;

b) To prepare the standards on the basis of examination of the broadcasting content of advertisements through the media;

c) To formulate a code of conduct relating to the production, broadcasting and distribution of advertisement;

d) To encourage publication and broadcasting by formulating advertisement relating to national interest and public interest;

e) To investigate whether advertisements are carried out which spread rumor, excitement, discrimination or contrary to the Advertisement Regulation Act;

f) To investigate advertisements broadcasting from foreign channels if such broadcasting is found against the standards and recommend the Ministry to take action against such act;

g) To coordinate between the Government of Nepal, advertising agencies, advertisers, media and relevant government authorities;

h) To recommend for regulation of necessary program to the Ministry for the development of advertising business and professional’s qualification and capacity;

i) To conduct consumer awareness programs;

j) To reward those who perform excellent in advertisement area;

k) To provide necessary direction to manufacturer, producer, distributor or broadcaster of advertisement; and

l) To distribute all advertisement availed from the Government of Nepal to the media through the Board on proportional basis.

11) OFFENSES AND PUNISHMENT:

The offenses and punishment under the Advertisement Regulation Act are set out below:

12) COMPLAINT:

Any person may inform to the Board, concerned committee or local level authority if anyone acts contrary to the Advertisement Regulation Act or other advertisement rules and standards. The Board, concerned committee or local level authority can take necessary actions based on their jurisdiction upon the receipt of such information.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and shall not be construed as legal advice, advertisement, personal communication, solicitation or inducement of any sort from the firm or its members. The firm shall not be liable for consequences arising out of actions undertaken by any person relying on the information provided herein.

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