The Secretary of State of the Education Ministry of Cambodia has called on educational institutions to reject alcohol industry sponsorships. The Secretary said that despite the Ministry of Education’s instructions against alcohol advertising in schools, some alcohol companies try to advertise their products by sponsoring school sports activities.

Kim Sethany, Secretary of State of the Education Ministry, called on all educational institutions to stop accepting sponsorship deals from the alcohol industry. She also called on all educational institutions to stop displaying alcohol advertisements at venues for all types of school sporting events.

In her speech during a public speaking contest on “Prohibition of all forms of alcohol advertising in sports events and venues,” Ms. Sethany said that the government has managed to stop displaying alcohol advertisements inside schools. However, some alcohol companies are trying to circumvent ban by advertising alcohol products via sponsoring sports activities in schools, against the instructions of the Ministry of Education.

The winner of the first-place prize at the contest, 26-year-old Ton Chanrith, exposed how the alcohol industry is attempting to get young people and children to start using alcohol through marketing strategies, such as advertising billboards and LED screens on the main road.

The activities of the alcohol industry are doing a lot of harm to children and young people because they will be encouraged to start using alcohol and use more at a young age by imitating their idols or advertisements,” said Ton Chanrith, first place winner of the public speaking contest on “Prohibition of all forms of alcohol advertising in sports events and venues”, as per Khmer Times.

I call on the relevant ministries and government to please stop the alcohol industry promoting or advertising their products during sport events in schools.”

Ton Chanrith, first place winner of the public speaking contest on “Prohibition of all forms of alcohol advertising in sports events and venues”

Movendi International has previously exposed how Big Alcohol is saturating Cambodia with alcohol advertising, specifically with large billboards. Communities have been calling on the government to adopt the long-awaited national alcohol law to better protect people, especially children, and youth, from all these alcohol promotions that are causing harm to communities.

Alcohol harm and Big Alcohol interference in Cambodia

As evident from World Health Organization data, per capita alcohol use has been on the rise in Cambodia since 2010. Cambodian men who consume alcohol have a very high per capita consumption level of 27.4 liters. The most commonly consumed alcohol product is beer, driven by the global beer giants’ growing presence, including through marketing, in the country.

© WHO Global Alcohol Status Report 2018

Already, major Big Alcohol companies are present in Cambodia, including Cambrew (75% owned by Carlsberg), Khmer Beverages, Cambodia Brewery Ltd (owned by Heineken), Ganzberg Brewery, and Pernod Ricard (Cambodge) Co., Ltd. and even more beer companies are springing up in the country.

Despite the rising alcohol use and harm, alcohol-related public health policy-making in Cambodia has been flawed. As previously reported by Movendi International, in 2015, Cambodia drafted one of the best Alcohol Regulation laws in the region. However, after that, the government stopped talking about the law, and no one offered an explanation for why it was never passed.

Big Alcohol interference in alcohol policy-making is the main obstacle to Cambodia adopting a comprehensive and evidence-based alcohol policy.

Yong Kim Eng, president of the People’s Centre for Development and Peace (PDP Centre) – a Movendi International member organization – explains the main reason for the delay in adopting the draft alcohol law of 2015 is because of a conflict of interest: the links between officials and the alcohol industry.

But thanks to heart-driven work of the PDP Centre and other communities, the Cambodian government has renewed their interest in adopting the alcohol law including a minimum legal age for alcohol use.

Source Website: Khmer Times