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TV ad guidelines show self-regulation a failure

FOE (Fight the Obesity Epidemic) 15 May 2008

Kids TV ad guidelines show self-regulation a failure

The TV food ad guidelines just announced show that self-regulation by the media will not provide enough protection for children, says Celia Murphy from FOE (Fight the Obesity Epidemic).

The guidelines, which place restrictions on when certain types of foods can be advertised, apply to children's programming times on TV2, TV3 and Maori TV. On weekdays these times finish at 5pm on TV2 and 4.30pm on TV3.

"We know most of children's viewing is outside these hours," said Ms Murphy. "Three of the four most popular programmes for children screen outside these hours. This includes The Simpsons which is the programme most watched by children."

"FOE wants a complete ban on TV advertising of junk food before 9pm," Ms Murphy said.

Ms Murphy believes that TV companies have introduced the new guidelines in an attempt to stave off government regulation. "The broadcasters and advertisers know exactly when children are watching and it is disingenuous of them to pretend this is a great step forward. It is just a token gesture."

"The Public Health Bill currently before Parliament would allow the government to regulate when self-regulation fails to deliver. It is really important this part of the Bill remains and is passed into law", said Ms Murphy. "If self-regulation really worked then industry would have no concerns about regulation under the Public Health Bill, but the media and advertising interests are strongly opposed to it," she said.


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