Police Commissioner Calls for Ban on Alcohol Advertising

There seems to be growing support for the banning of alcohol advertising during live sporting broadcasts in Western Australia.

The Police Commissioner, Karl O’Callaghan has urged Opposition Leader Tony Abbott to consider banning alcohol advertising during live sporting broadcasts.

According to Abbott, alcohol advertisements are just as damaging to children as gambling advertisements and betting odds promoted during live sporting events. He is particularly concerned about the impact that alcohol advertisements will have on children who watch AFL, NRL and other popular sporting codes in Oz. He has often in the past condemned the alcohol industry’s campaigns which he believes target youngsters with their themes and appeal.

This post on TheAustralian.com.au explains:

Earlier this week, the federal Liberal leader said if he wins government in September he will scrap live betting odds from sports broadcasts unless the television industry takes action first.

Today, WA’s top cop called on Mr Abbott to also consider alcohol ads in his prohibition, saying children tuning into AFL, NRL and other sporting codes were just as likely to be influenced by ads for beer as betting.

“He thinks that is a loophole and that it means they (bookmakers) can advertise during G-rated programs for kids – the same actually applies to alcohol,” Mr O’Callaghan said.

“It is the only time when someone can advertise alcohol at a time of day when kids could be watching.

“My message to him is to have a look at both things. You have got an opportunity, so do it properly.”

The WA commissioner has been a vocal critic of alcohol advertisers, regularly issuing official complaints through the Alcohol Beverages Advertising Code (ABAC) scheme, while labelling some advertisers “cunning” and “unethical”.

He also put his case to police commissioners of every other state at a national meeting in April.

Mr Abbott said he was ready to put the television industry “on notice” to clamp down on broadcasting live betting odds during sports coverage or face a legislated ban.

Read more: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/media/call-for-ban-on-alcohol-ads-in-sport/story-e6frg996-1226638671649

It seems the police commissioner’s concerns may be warranted as statistics show Aussie youth are drinking from a younger age than they did a few years ago and more teen are engaging in binge drinking than ever before.

While on this topic one cannot help but recall a recent article in which we discussed a study which provided evidence that young people are encouraged to start drinking by alcohol advertising. The group expressed fears that alcohol advertising and marketing messages are portraying the wrong message to the youth, that alcohol is the way to happiness and success.

The study for the European Commission found that children in the UK are more exposed to alcohol marketing than even adults are, with 10 to 15-year-olds seeing 10% more alcohol advertising on television than their parents do and 50% more ads for pre-mixed drinks. Perhaps even more concerning is the advertising of alcohol products on social media, which is mostly frequented by young people.

Debates such as this one highlight even more the need for the enforcement of Responsible Service of Alcohol. It is RSA staff’s responsibility to ensure that people under the age of 18 do not get their hands on alcohol in licenced venues. It is important to ask anyone who looks young for an ID and refuse them alcohol if they cannot provide it.