South African Government Body Demands Restrictions on Alcohol Ads

15 October 2001

A South African government body has called for tough restrictions on the advertising of alcoholic drinks.

The Central Drug Authority, which looks into substance abuse, wants a ban on TV and radio commercials for such products between 6 pm and 10 pm, warning labels on packaging and the insertion of health warnings in ads. It is also urging government departments to expand efforts to warn the public about the effects of alcohol abuse in a way “so as not to encourage the forbidden fruit phenomenon.”

The recommendations drew a stiff response from the Freedom of Commercial Speech Trust, which challenged the CDA’s assertion that there was “significant public demand” for a ban on the glamorous portrayal of alcohol. The Trust’s director Piet Delport pointed out that such portrayal was already prohibited by the Advertising Standards Authority’s code of practice.

Delport added that a ban on ads after 6 pm was unenforceable, as sporting events are often shown in the evenings. Many sports teams, among them the national rugby and soccer sides, are sponsored by beer brands.

Minister of Health Dr Manto Tshabalala-Msimang stated that her department was “looking at policy options available for implementation of the recommendations,” but promised “sufficient consultation with all stakeholders.”

News source: AdAge Global