A coalition of EU health organizations is seeking to ban TV advertising of junk food and alcohol between the hours of 6 A.M. and 11 P.M., describing its plan as “a key opportunity to free Europe’s young people from health-harmful marketing.” Given its way, the coalition no doubt would also like to see all billboard, bus and other outdoor advertising of those products covered up during the same hours.
The campaign was officially launched in the European Parliament on December 2.
A BeverageDaily.com report noted that the action would, if successful, effectively see foreign broadcasts censored to the same EU standards.
Led by Romanian MEP (member of the European Parliament) Daciana Octavia Sarbu, the coalition comprises 10 organizations, including the European Heart Network, the Eurocare Alcohol Policy Alliance, and the European Public Health Alliance. Their aim is to alter the existing Audio-Visual Media Services Directive (AVMSD), EU-wide legislation aimed at protesting children and consumers. It says, in effect, “we know what’s good for you and you need to do what we say.”
Their “What about our kids” campaign has three specific objectives – additions to the AVMSD:
- TV advertisements for alcohol and foods high in fat, salt and sugar (HFSS) would be banned on all broadcast platforms, including on-demand services and such video-sharing platforms as YouTube.
- Product placements for the same products should be banned as being “effective marketing techniques, and should be prohibited alongside those for tobacco and medicinal products.”
- Ensure the above rulesare applied equally to all foreign-based broadcasts.
Fiona Godfrey, Policy Director at the European Association for the Study of the Liver, told BeverageDaily that such other rules as those effecting tobacco advertising and marketing “is effective in reducing consumption.”
I’m all for encouraging kids to eat less junk food and to stay away from alcohol until they’re legally entitled to buy and use it, but this approach has too much of a ‘Big Brother’ feel to me.