Relaxing the Laws on TV Adverts

By Pattinson, Georgina | The Birmingham Post (England), May 9, 2000 | Go to article overview

Relaxing the Laws on TV Adverts


Pattinson, Georgina, The Birmingham Post (England)


Discussed over coffee breaks and in the pub, TV advertisements are as loved and loathed as the programmes they interrupt.

Now the advertising watchdog, the Independent Television Commission (ITC), is to recommend the relaxing of rules over who can advertise what on television.

It means that the British public could be treated to advertisements in which doctors endorse haemorrhoid creams, escort agencies can advertise their services and Billy Graham-style preachers can advertise their beliefs.

Yesterday's report is a fresh look at the rules of TV advertising and is the first of three consultation papers from the ITC. The move comes in response to the changing broadcast market place, with its proliferation of new channels - and new consumer attitudes.

'Consumers have access to a wide range of TV services and consumer awareness has increased since some of the prohibitive rules were introduced,' explains Caroline O'Dwyer of the ITC.

'In some senses, it should not make too much difference as far as consumers are concerned. They will still be protected in terms of the basic parameters of TV advertising.

'The thresholds of public protection such as misleadingness, the avoidance of offence and the protection of children will still be stringently applied.'

But there are fears that any slackening of the regulations surrounding advertising could put the public at risk from indoctrination.

O'Dwyer dismisses these fears and says that despite the proposed change in the regulations, British consumers will be shielded from religious rants.

She explains: 'We have demonstrated before on an advertisement for The Christian Channel that we will not tolerate language which may be linked to offence or harm.'

Recently an advertisement by American evangelist Morris Cerullo, carried on a cable station, broke the ITC's code because it attacked homosexuality, abortion and Britain's divorce laws. …

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