Officials decry misleading TV adverts

Published: 11/05/2011 05:00



False claims made by advertisements, directly or implicitly, are misleading and
cheating customers and have become a matter of public concern, officials say.

Television ads have been at the
forefront of this development for several years now, a Sai Gon Giai Phong
(Liberated Saigon) newspaper report yesterday, May 10, cited several officials as saying.

Ngo Huy Toan, who heads a division
that inspects press and publishing offices under the Ministry of Information and
Communication, said: “There are several wrong advertisements on television that
make the audience misunderstand products or services.”

He cited as examples “inaccurate
advertisements” that present titanium health bracelets and Chinese clinics as
offering cures for all diseases.

Several ads can easily make the
audience mistake cooking supplements for medicines, he added.

Weak laws

Apart from lax implementation of an
old law that is not very clear, television channels are also taking advantage of
loopholes to increase ad time, Toan said.

For instance, he said the law
allows TV stations to pause a film screening twice to show ads, but they
actually get shown four times – before, during and after the programme.

Similarly, the law allows for a
maximum of three ad insertions during an entertainment programme, but this
becomes five when they are shown before and after.

Toan said the advertising law
should have clear and specific regulations on ad content about products and
services to protect the viewers’ rights.

Recently, the Ministry of Culture,
Sports and Tourism has drafted a new Advertising Law to regulate the form,
content and means of advertising that will include a list of products and
services that cannot be promoted through ads on public media as well as
penalties for violations.

However, the draft still does not
address shortcomings in the old law, especially those related to television
advertising, which is booming alongside the mushrooming of TV channels.

The draft mentions that ad time on
television channels should “not exceed seven per cent of the broadcasting time
in a day”.

While most channels, which function
24/24 are not apparently using up all this time, viewers are still frustrated
because they are bombarded with advertisements during peak hours of 6pm-9pm.

The draft also forbids the use of
superlative adjectives or nouns including most, only, best, number one and so
on, but advertisements can easily imply what the words mean while not using

The draft also regulates that TV
channels cannot have an ad break in programmes that are less than 15 minutes

However, this is easily
circumvented by playing the ads at the beginning and end of programmes that are
only 5 – 10 minutes long.

“The regulation does not correspond
to the general television trend,” said Nguyen Thanh Luong, deputy general
director of Viet Nam Television, said adding that TV programmes these days are
split up into smaller parts for the audience to follow easily.

“VTV is drafting a petition to ask
the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism to delete the regulation (pertaining
to 15-minute programmes),” Luong said.

The law should ensure that the
“content of an advertisement tells the truth about the product because its
purpose is to sell it”, he added.

Nam News

Provide by Vietnam Travel

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