EU health coalition calls for 6am to 11pm ban on advertising of alcohol and junk food
A coalition of European civil society organisations is advocating for later watershed times and restricted product placement for adverts and television marketing of alcohol and unhealthy food – by improving the current Audio-Visual Media Services Directive (AVMSD).
The advocacy campaign was officially launched in the European Parliament with an event called “AVMSD: What about our kids?”
Led by Romanian Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Daciana Octavia Sârbu and organised by ten European civil society organizations including the European Heart Network, the European Alcohol Policy Alliance, IOGT-NTO in Sweden, the European Public Health Alliance, the event featured discussions and debates amongst public health and social policy experts on the case for extending current limitations.
The “What about our kids?” campaign is calling for three particular measures to be added to an improved AVMSD:
- No TV adverts for alcohol or foods high in fat, salt and sugar (HFSS) between 6am and 11pm. This would include all television, on-demand services and online video sharing platforms like YouTube.
- No product placement for HFSS products, deemed “effective marketing techniques, and should be prohibited alongside those for tobacco and medicinal products.”
- Ensure the above rules are applied equally to all foreign based broadcastsSârbu said “The European Union has a once in a decade opportunity to protect its children from ubiquitous marketing of unhealthy foods and alcohol.”
Euro Reporter quotes Ms Daciana Octavia Sârbu, MEP:
The European Union has a once in a decade opportunity to protect its children from ubiquitous marketing of unhealthy foods and alcohol. It is called the Audiovisual Media Services Directive and it comes in the shape of a watershed: no commercial communications for alcohol and unhealthy food during hours where children in great numbers watch television.
The EU and its Member States and MEPs have an obligation to protect our children’s health and should not leave this to commercial interests and self-regulation.”
AVMSD under review
The AMVSD is an EU-wide legislation on all audovisual media whose responsibility includes ‘protecting children and consumers’.
It has been under review since May 2017. An online petition launched by IOGT-NTO, Active-sobriety, friendship and peace and EUCAM has criticised the new draft proposal as ‘shockingly devoid’ of necessary restrictions, and asks to have the draft amended.
Concerning alcohol, they are asking the European Commission to implement the following changes:
Minors’ exposure to alcohol advertising
AVMSD Article 22
Television advertising and teleshopping for alcoholic beverages shall comply with the following criteria:
(a) it may not be aimed specifically at minors or, in particular, depict minors consuming these beverages;
(b) it shall not link the consumption of alcohol to enhanced physical performance or to driving;
(c) it shall not create the impression that the consumption of alcohol contributes towards social or sexual success;
(d) it shall not claim that alcohol has therapeutic qualities or that it is a stimulant, a sedative or a means of resolving personal conflicts;
(e) it shall not encourage immoderate consumption of alcohol or present abstinence or moderation in a negative light;
(f) it shall not place emphasis on high alcoholic content as being a positive quality of the beverages.
AVMSD Article 10 paragraph 2
Audio-visual media services or programmes shall not be sponsored by undertakings whose principal activity is the manufacture or sales of cigarettes and other tobacco products or alcoholic beverages. In cases when the undertakings conduct the manufacture or sales of cigarettes and other tobacco products or alcoholic beveragesas one of their activities, when sponsoring they can only use the brand name of the products other than alcoholic beverages, cigarettes and other tobacco products.
Cross-border alcohol advertising
AVMSD Article 12
Member States shall take appropriate measures to ensure that on-demand audio-visual media services provided by media service providers under their jurisdiction which might seriously impair the physical, mental or moral development of minors, for example alcohol advertising, are only made available in such a way as to ensure that minors will not normally hear or see such on-demand audio-visual media services.
AVMSD Article 27 paragraph 1
Member States shall take appropriate measures to ensure that television broadcasts by broadcasters under their jurisdiction do not include any programmes which might seriously impair the physical, mental or moral development of minors, in particular programmes that involve pornography, gratuitous violence or product placement of alcoholic beverages.