PPA, WHS slam lads mags ‘top shelf’ call

The Periodical Publishers Association and WH Smith have hit out against a new bill calling for retailers to put lads magazines like Maxim, FHM and Arena on the top shelf. The retailer says it should not censor people’s magazine choices.

The pair spoke out after Labour MP Claire Curtis-Thomas introduced a ten minute rule bill calling for “lads mags” to be put on the top shelf along with pornographic magazines. She also called for an independent regulator to restrict display of the magazines.

The PPA has written to MPs who signed Curtis-Thomas’s Early Day Motion to raise awareness of recently “strengthened” Home Office guidelines which recommend that such magazine are not displayed at children’s eye level or near children’s titles or comics.

The association maintains self-regulation through a voluntary code is the most effective way to monitor the sector, and claims that it “welcomes the opportunity for further coverage” of the guidelines to raise awareness among retailers.

WH Smith is understood to agree with the PPA and adds that it is not “our decision to act as censor. People should buy magazines based on their personal preference”.

The Regulation of Sale and Display of Sexually Explicit Material Bill is understood to have cross-party support but is unlikely to become law due to lack of parliamentary time.

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