Agency calls for alcohol ad ban before watershed

Alcohol Concern is planning to lobby MPs to gain support for a ban on all alcohol advertising on television before the 9pm watershed.

Campaigns officer Frank Sodeen says it has called for bans before and that Ofcom’s recent proposals to restrict junk food advertising around children’s programming has given the issue fresh impetus.

Alcohol Concern, which is the national voluntary agency concerned with alcohol abuse, will present its case for a ban to the next meeting of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Alcohol Misuse on December 12. The agency is also writing to all members of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Advertising to invite them to attend its presentation.

Ian Twinn, director of public affairs at the Incorporated Society of British Advertisers, says a pre-watershed ban is unnecessary: "We already have tough rules on content and scheduling of alcohol ads on TV, which means you cannot advertise alcohol at all in children’s programmes or in programmes that are likely to appeal to a disproportionate number of children."

Ofcom’s proposals include a ban on ads for high fat, salt and sugar foods and drinks during television programmes likely to be watched by proportionately large numbers of under-16-year-olds. The Government has welcomed the plans and is expected to monitor the curbs for a year before deciding whether a total ban on all "junk food" ads before the 9pm watershed is necessary.

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