The proclamation that seeks to ban any broadcast media advertisement on alcoholic drinks, from 6:00 AM in the morning to 9:00 PM in the evening, will start to take effect starting next month, May 29, 2019, The Reporter has learnt.
As per Article 74(4) of the Proclamation, the provision that bans the advertisement of any alcoholic product through broadcasting media (television and radio) will take effect on May 29, 2019, according to Heran Gerba, Director General of Ethiopian Food and Drug Authority.
“Hence, we advise all advertisers of alcoholic drinks and the broadcast media to prepare for its implementation and comply with their responsibility when the law takes effect,” she said.
It is to be recalled that back in February, 2019, the parliament approved a bill, entitled the “Food and Medicine Administration Proclamation” mainly restricting smoking in all indoor workplaces, as well as public places and public transportation. The bill also banned alcohol promotion on broadcasting media outlets.
The bill also puts an age cap on alcohol drinking, where it is made illegal to sell any alcoholic drink to anyone under the age of 21.
It is to be recalled that the first draft of the bill carried more moderate provision with regards to advertisement of alcoholic products on broadcast media. It stated that, “Any alcoholic drink whose volume is more than 10 percent may only be advertised through broadcast from 9:00 PM in the evening to 6:00 AM in the morning.” However, later on, the article was amended, banning all alcohols irrespective of their volume not to be advertised in the aforementioned time table.
Since the initial draft bill was tabled, a number of industry players in both beverage industry as well as media, expressed their dismay over the stringent provisions.
Many media owners criticized the bill for being very conservative, which they fear will affect their income from advertisement. The alcoholic beverage industry is one of the major sources of income for many media agencies via advertising. The industry is also known to sponsors a number of television and radio programs.
The bill had a grace period of three months from publication to ban advertising of alcohol on broadcast media, Heran told The Reporter.
In addition, provisions in relations to the labelling of alcoholic products will also take effect after six months from the publication of the bill in Negarit Gazetta.