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Complaint filed against WPP for misrepresenting Indian map

A Mumbai resident filed a complaint against advertising giant WPP accusing the company of misrepresenting the Indian map. This happened during a global investor presentation held in August last year according to media reports.

The complainant alleged that J&K and Ladakh are missing from the Indian map and parts of India are being shown as parts of China (Aksai Chin). WPP has issued a response saying that it has removed the material in question and will engage with authorities on the matter.

The complainant emphasized that the depiction is not a mere graphical representation because it does media management work for publicly listed companies in India and is required to have correct geo data classification of Indian territories.  

The complainant noted that after he brought the issue to the company’s notice in October last year, the presentation was removed from the global website and the issue was attributed to a technical glitch.

The complainant added that it was WPP’s obligation towards India to check data architectures of all digital publishers that the company buys on behalf of Indian clients.

The misrepresentation could potentially be a violation of the National Map Policy, 2005 which allows users to publish maps on hard copy or web subject to certification from Survey of India. According to the draft Geospatial Information Regulation Bill, 2016 incorrect depictions of the map of India could land violators in jail with maximum 7 years of imprisonment and a fine of up to Rs 100 crore. However, the draft legislation has yet to be made into a law.

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