Ministers Rethink UK Broadcast Ad Regulation

01 November 2002

Following intense pressure from the ad industry, British ministers say they will allow TV and radio advertising to enjoy similar self-regulation to the print sector.

Responsibility for policing broadcast ads was left uncertain under draft communications legislation unveiled earlier this year - much to the dismay of the industry, which favours self-regulation. Indeed, the Advertising Association threatened to pull out of negotiations with the government over its foot-dragging on the issue.

However, earlier this week ministers signalled that they are willing to allow new communications regulator Ofcom to cede regulation of TV and radio ads to an industry body.

“The government has reviewed the position and will modify the [Communications Bill] to ensure there are no unnecessary barriers to self-regulation,” read a joint statement from culture, media and sport secretary Tessa Jowell and trade and industry secretary Patricia Hewitt.

“Broadcast advertising regulation is an area where Ofcom may consider contracting out arrangements if appropriate, subject to the industry coming forward with suitable proposals.”

The decision was welcomed by the Advertising Association. “This goes further than the white paper,” declared director-general Andrew Brown. “There are no wishy-washy words about co-regulation; it is talking about self-regulation.”

Data sourced from: BrandRepublic (UK); additional content by WARC staff