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Tourism television advertisement breaches code

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FIJI TOURISM TELEVISION ADVERTISEMENT BREACHES CODE OF ETHICS

AUCKLAND (PMW): A Fiji Visitors Bureau television advertisement portraying the Fiji Islands as unchanged after rioting and a coup in May has been found to have breached New Zealand's advertising code of ethics and has been modified.

The advertisement - broadcast on state-owned New Zealand Television's one and two channels, and private Television Three - showed idyllic scenes from Fiji’s tourism, including waves breaking on a deserted beach, diving in clear blue water and paddling a canoe.

The NZ Advertising Standards Authority today upheld a complaint about the programme by the Auckland-based Coalition for Democracy in Fiji which claimed the words "Fiji before' and "Fiji after" superimposed on a visual of a beach were misleading.

A voice-over claimed "the only thing that's changed is the price" and the CDF said this implied that the coup led by failed businessman George Speight had no lasting effect on Fiji.

Speight and 13 of his fellow rebels are now detained awaiting trial on treason charges.

The authority's complaints board said the advertisement specifically referred to Fiji, rather than isolating tourism as being unchanged - and this was "clearly not accurate".

Parts of Fiji were still subject to curfew and this would have an affect on tourists and locals alike, the ruling said.

"The advertisement left the viewer with the impression that the adverse effects experienced by many people had been glossed over and dismissed, and this in the majority view was unacceptable in terms of the social responsibility expected of advertisers," it said.

Although the board noted that a minority view accepted the advertisement, a majority held that it breached Principle 4 and Rule 2 of the Code of Ethics.

Principle 4 says "all advertisements should be prepared with a due sense of social responsibility to consumers and society".

Rule 2 says "truthful presentation - advertisments should not contain any statement or visual presentation or create an overall impression which directly or by implication, omission, ambiguity or exaggerated claim is misleading or deceptive, is likely to deceive or mislead the consumer, makes false and misleading representation, abuses the trust of the consumer or exploits his/her lack of experience or knowledge".

The Fiji Visitors Bureau said the authority had approved a changed version that implied "Fijian holidays", not Fiji itself, were still the same.

+++niuswire

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