Telecoms industry watchdog Icstis is for the first time investigating the placing of sex advertisements in glossy men’s lifestyle magazines, including Loaded, FHM, Front and Maxim.
The increasingly explicit sexual content of mainstream “middle-shelf” magazines has been blamed for the rise in the number of advertisers of sexual services targeting these titles. Other titles investigated include Sky, Bizarre, Time Out and Redline.
A spokesman for the Independent Committee for the Supervision of Standards of Telephone Information Services (Icstis) says: “One of the reasons could be because of the nature of the editorial content. Also some of these titles are very popular.”
The Icstis complaints panel is to rule on 27 possible breaches of its code of practice this week.
The code states promotions for sexual services must not appear in generally available publications other than “top shelf” pornographic titles.
Suppliers of sex lines and adult chat lines who abide by the code are also concerned that their rivals are flouting the rules.
If any of the complaints are upheld, the phone service providers will be fined, not the magazines which ran the ads.
Twelve breaches of the code in The Sport, The Daily Star and Exchange & Mart have been upheld with fines of 1,500 and 500 on the telecoms service providers involved. But Icstis has warned fines will get tougher.