For years the Sri Lankan ban on televised alcohol and tobacco marketing has been circumvented by broadcasters and producers. One of the ways they did this, was by using mosaics or blurred images to mask tobacco and alcohol products in television programs. Now, a series of new regulations will further restrict the use of these methods.

 

Since the 2006 enactment of the National Alcohol and Tobacco Act No. 27 any form of advertising, promotion and sponsorship of tobacco and alcohol products was banned in Sri Lanka. Using subtle methods television broadcasters and producers have been able to work around this ban. The new regulations are intended to strengthen the enforcement of the ban.

In addition to stricter regulations, broadcasters will also be required to air messages that express the dangers of tobacco and alcohol use. During a Media Awareness Campaign on tobacco control, organized by the Jeevaka Foundation, it was announced that the new regulations are to be implemented September 1st.

Professor Carlo Fonseka, the Head of the National Authority on Tobacco and Alcohol (NATA), spoke about the new regulations to Onlanka News. Fonseka referred to scientific evidence that entertainment media, such as films, tele-dramas and music have a tremendous influence on people’s day-to-day attitudinal behaviors. He was also quoted as saying: ‘This mosaic mechanism has not been authorized by us. It has only brought the wrath of the public on the authorities. Through depiction of alcohol and tobacco use in films and tele-dramas, the entertainment media violates the provisions of the NATA Act.’

Source: Onlanka News 08/18/11

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