The weak Advertisement Policy of Nepal

By Usman Khan

Advertising helps customers to select products and services from manifold sellers, and it allows new contestants in the market to increase grip if the product is superior in quality to that of the incumbent. When the free flow of information is blocked, then it gives an unnecessary advantage to the established companies in stifling competition, which eventually lower the quality of products and services

Most Nepalese have been watching TV, that is, international channels without commercials and advertisements for nearly two years now. Article 6 of the Advertisement (Regulations) Act, 2019 specifies that foreign channels will have to broadcast without advertisements (clean feed) in Nepal

Nepal is a country that depends on importation for a maximum of its commodities as well as extra goods, mainly from neighboring countries. Nepal is deprived of the essential worth offer of the product, which is the basic function of advertisement and a subcategory of marketing.

Nepal imports shampoos, toilet paper, face wash, over-the-counter drugs and a host of other daily essential items, but the government does not want to let the Nepalese vendors know what the manufacturer is offering in exchange for the money. In principle, they are deprived of the basic prerogative of being a consumer.

It is a right of consumers in a free-market capitalist system to have access to information regarding products and services in a transparent way in order to make impartial and good decisions. One of the ways in which manufacturers provide valuable and necessary information to a target consumer is through TV advertisements. All other social media sources of ahead of it.

As such, when the government blocks access to valuable information in a market economy, then it means that it is pushing the system to a state of downfall and failure. First, the consumer does not know what products are there in the market. One of the hallmarks of modern entrepreneurship is the fast stride at which innovation happens and equally the speedy pace at which these advanced products come to the market and in the hands of the consumer.

This is facilitated not only by state-of-the-art supply chain management but also by an intense understanding of the products by the consumers. Advertising and publicity play a critical role in enlightening the possible customers concerning the principal advantage of the product and services.

Publicity helps customers to select products and services from multiple vendors, and it allows new entrants in the market to gain traction if the product is superior in quality to that of the incumbent.

When the unrestricted stream of information is blocked, then it gives an unjustifiable advantage to the recognized companies amid stuffy rivalry, which lastly lowers the eminence of products and services which hurt the consumers. Moreover, due to the current law, consumers are put through the agonizing pain of watching the repeated and monotonous programmed advertisements from the channels themselves.

The whole idea behind watching a television program is to get a sense of opportune experience, which transfers as a form of entertainment, and this law seems to deliberately squash the quintessential feature of watching a manufactured entertainment.

Watching a TV ad is in itself a form of entertainment. Imagine the kind of creativity that goes into conveying a value of a product in an entertaining manner. We are deprived of this aesthetic endeavor, which is the spirit and lifeblood of modern free-market capitalism. The purported benefit of the law is to provide impetus to Nepal's advertising market.

Accordingly, this law is to grant employment opportunities to a multitude of Nepali actors, content writers, graphic designers and a host of other creative talents. Even so, the law was executed in a quick manner without adequate foresight and planning as it need to have enough infrastructure in place to create engaging marketable content for international brands.

Without gaining sufficient insight from the consumers, who are directly affected by the Act, the government seems to have hastily enacted a law that has huge repercussions on the future of the free market in Nepal. Cynics of the law might say that television is an outdated form of media, and digital media is the future.

A developing country like Nepal cannot afford weak consumer protection laws to subdue the vitality of the free market with oppressive laws. In this regard, the clean feed policy of Nepal’s government seems to undermine this rudimentary spirit of joining the free market at the cost of the customers.

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