Critically Discuss the Adequacy of Existing Regulatory Regime in Relation to the Advertising of Alcohol on Television

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In June 2012, thirty leading medical bodies and charities have called for a total ban on advertising for alcohol on television. Do you support this view, why or why not? Critically discuss the adequacy of existing regulatory regime in relation to the advertising of alcohol on television. Support your analysis with reference to the relevant codes of practise and relevant ASA adjudications. The Oxford Dictionary describes advertising as to “describe or draw attention to (a product, service, or event) in a public medium in order to promote sales or attendance” . The Advertising Standards Association regulates advertising across all media including television and cinema. They work closely with organisations such as Ofcom to regulate communications in these areas. Ofcom was established in 2009 “to oversee all regulation in the media and communication sectors” and are accountable to the government. Their main legal duties include making sure that “people who watch television are protected from harmful or offensive material and are protected from being treated unfairly in television and radio programmes”. In this essay I will discuss the existing regulatory regimes in relation to the advertising of alcohol on television, using support from the relevant code of practise and relevant ASA adjudications. At the end of the essay I will take this evidence into account and come to a clear conclusion as to whether or not I support the view of a total ban on advertising for alcohol on television. In June 2012, thirty leading medical bodies and charities called for a total ban on advertising for alcohol on television. They called for tighter restrictions on the marketing of alcohol, “especially towards children”. Ofcom have specific duties, two of which are, “Applying adequate protection for audiences against offensive or harmful material – the taste and decency area” and “Applying adequate protection for audiences against unfairness or the infringement of privacy – covering issues of accuracy, the opportunity to respond and intrusive coverage”.There are plenty of examples of when inappropriate alcohol advertisements have been broadcasted during a period when a significant proportion of the audience has consisted of children. In December 2008, an advert for Stella Artois was broadcast immediately after the family film ‘Dunston Checks In’ on Film4. It was found that the advert shouldn’t have been broadcast adjacent to a children’s film or programme, or a family film or programme that is likely to attract an audience made up of a significant number of under 18s. InBev UK Ltd brews Stella Artois and is one of the largest brewery’s in the world. They said that the advert was used without their permission and Channel Four then admitted the error and accepted responsibility for it. In this case, the complaint was upheld and the advert was retracted. This particular adjudication shows that although there are certain laws and regulations in place for advertising, such as not broadcasting alcoholic adverts during/adjacent to children’s programmes, sometimes advertisements can slip through the cracks. Therefore, this example shows that the regulations in place should be tougher, and supports the notion of the total ban on alcohol advertising on television. It’s important to understand how alcohol can have very negative effects on our health. According to a survey completed by the agency Alcohol Concern, over 22,000 deaths a year in Britain are related to alcohol. It is also implicated in illnesses such as liver disease, hepatitis, and cancer. By advertising alcoholic drinks on television, where they can be accessed by everybody, without showing the damaging effects of these products, these companies are being irresponsible. Also, alcohol abuse can tear lives and families apart. According to Alcoholics Anonymous ‘after smoking, alcohol kills more people than any other drug’ and ‘one in 13 adults’ in the UK is alcohol dependent. Therefore by...
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