Tith Kongnov / Khmer Times; 11-01-2024

The government has banned companies from using women and minors under the age of 18 to advertise alcoholic beverages.

Beer billboard in Chamkar Mon district in Phnom Penh yesterday. KT/Yarn Soveit

The Ministry of Information issued the directive yesterday banning all media outlets, businesses, and promoters of alcohol products from using women and minors in alcohol advertisements. In a statement issued yesterday, Minister of Information Neth Pheaktra said the media advertises alcoholic products using women and underage people, which infringes on their rights and dignity. He said that some advertisers used images of women standing on a stage drinking beer to entice youths to buy their products, and sometimes the owners of companies offer rewards, such as a lucky prize, to encourage people to drink beer. Pheaktra said irresponsible alcohol consumption negatively impacted society, such as traffic accidents, domestic violence, and social and health problems.

“In order to prevent and eliminate the problems, the Ministry of Information would like to once again remind all media owners, manufacturers, importers, distributors, and advertisers to pay attention to the implementation of this notification and the ministry’s code of conduct concerning alcohol advertising.” He added that businesses that don’t comply with the notice would have their advertising stopped, and if they still violated the regulations, the ministry would enforce the law.

Cambodia Movement for Health (CMH) executive director Dr Mom Kong said yesterday that advertisements using women and minors to promote alcoholic products in public areas should not happen in the country, and he is very concerned about these problems continuing in the Kingdom.

“Alcohol consumption, especially among youths, is very concerning as it stems from advertising alcoholic products. There are many ways to attract people and children to drink alcohol,” he said.

CMH has implemented many campaigns to educate people about the side effects of unhealthy alcohol consumption, but the message is not reaching people because there is no law banning people under the age of 18 from consuming alcohol. “I am very supportive of the Ministry of Information’s efforts, which is a good sign, but in order to effectively implement a ban on underage drinking, the ministry should make specific institutions take action on the problem with accountability; if they do not, the problem will continue,” Kong said. 

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health issued a press release yesterday on the effects on health of alcohol consumption, saying that alcohol use has serious health, economic, and social consequences, especially for family members, friends and colleagues. It said that drinking alcohol affects the health of consumers and has long-term effects, and alcohol consumption changes people’s behaviour and the symptoms depend on the amount of alcohol consumed.

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