ISBA slams government proposal to limit pre-school children’s ads

UK advertisers are to oppose a government proposal calling for a ban on food and drink advertising during pre-school children’s TV programmes and related scheduling.

The Incorporated Society of British Advertisers (ISBA) has condemned the plans, saying the existing rules on advertising to children for both broadcast and non-broadcast media are stringent enough.

The Ten-Minute Rule Bill is being proposed by Labour MP Debra Shipley, who last year laid down an Early Day Motion in the House of Commons calling for a complete ban on TV advertising to children under the age of five.

A spokesman for ISBA says: “It wouldn’t be in children’s interests to be cocooned from the commercial world in which we all live and in which advertising plays a crucial role. Also, the loss of advertising revenue could prove devastating to the quality of children’s TV.”

Although Ten-Minute Rule Bills do not become legislation, the proposal is expected to open yet another debate on food advertising to children. The new bill received its first reading on May 6.

A statement issued by Debra Shipley’s office says: “I strongly believe that toddlers should have TV time which is their own, and free from harmful advertising of high fat, high sugar and high salt content food and drink.”

Last year, the Government backed Media Smart, an initiative to help children to understand and interpret advertising.

Media Smart is represented by Procter & Gamble, and chocolate giants Mars and Cadbury Trebor Bassett.

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