British Parliamentarians Call for Ban on Ads to Under-Fives

31 January 2002

A total of 92 Members of Parliament have lent their support to an early day motion in Britain’s House of Commons calling for a ban on advertising to children under five.

According to the dedicated early day motions website (whose information differs from that in some industry publications), the motion was published on Tuesday by Debra Shipley, an MP for the governing Labour Party and a member of the Commons Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport.

Shipley is believed to have brought up the idea of an ad ban with broadcasters such as the BBC and ITV during the committee’s recent consultations concerning imminent communications legislation.

Reads the motion: “This House believes that TV advertising should be banned during broadcasting hours scheduled for under fives' viewing.”

For those not au fait with the intricacies of parliament, an early day motion is intended to draw attention to an issue and gain support for it by inviting other MPs to add their signatures. The motion is not usually debated, let alone form the basis of legislation.

Several industry groups are opposed to a ban on children’s advertising, such as the Incorporated Society of British Advertisers, the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising and the Advertising Association.

ISBA’s director of public affairs Ian Twinn warned such a prohibition would further harm ailing commercial network ITV and could adversely affect industries involved in children’s advertising, such as toy manufacturing.

“Children's programming in the UK is widely respected. Advertising to children in the UK is highly regulated by the industry and by the Independent Television Commission. We would not want it any other way.”

News source: BrandRepublic (UK);