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AUS: ACCC concerned about 'Advertorial' practices

"The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission will not take any legal action about the agreement between radio announcer Mr John Laws, 2UE, and the Australian Bankers' Association to promote a positive image of Australian banking," ACCC Chairman, Professor Allan Fels, said today.

"The ACCC has examined the behaviour of the bankers, Mr Laws and 2UE, and similar allegations made about other radio announcers, and notes the extensive investigations under way by the Australian Broadcasting Authority, including a series of inquiries.

"The ACCC believes the Authority is the appropriate body to undertake these inquiries into the practice and that by clarifying its position now, the ACCC will not impede the Authority in any action it takes.

"The ACCC is considering the possibility of developing guidelines about the relevance of the Trade Practices Act 1974 for business and the electronic and print media about editorial content in programs/articles which are linked to paid advertising, commonly called 'advertorials'. It will take into account the Authority's findings, as well as Section 65A that provides certain defences in relation to material, other than advertising material, transmitted via the media.

"The ACCC will assist the Authority in any way. The ACCC is concerned about the expansion of 'advertorials' and expects the Authority inquiry to assist in the clarification of what is currently a 'grey area' in the media".

24 August 1999

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