ISBA chief thunders against ad curbs

John Sunderland, the president of The Incorporated Society for British Advertisers (ISBA), is calling upon the Government not to yield to the “ill-considered” appeals for bans against advertising. The remarks have been made in ISBA’s Annual Report 2004, in which Sunderland lobbies for advertising to be seen as an important information tool in society. He is also the chairman of Cadbury Schweppes.

ISBA makes the case that advertising bans rarely achieve public policy objectives when applied in an attempt to tackle complex social issues, but that they do have damaging unintended consequences for the media and consumers. A ban on food advertising to children, for instance, would have a profound impact on the quality of children’s television in the UK by denying it valuable funds.

The report identifies six issues that it says will require particular attention over the coming year. These include the BBC Charter review; extending advertising self-regulation; advertising and public health policy; consumer trust in electronic media; and “Ofcom, competition and the future”.

ISBA’s position on the BBC Charter is that the BBC is competing so aggressively against the commercial sector that maintaining the status quo is not an option. It says that the BBC should either raise money itself or that the Government should clarify its public broadcasting remit and adjust its governance to ensure compliance.

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