SARFT orders ban on sexy ads

Updated: 2011-10-14 07:23

By Cang Wei (China Daily)

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BEIJING - Chinese audiences can expect fewer sexually suggestive commercials and more public information advertisements on their screens after China's top broadcasting regulator ordered a ban on sex-related advertisements on TV and radio.

The State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) ordered on Wednesday that sex-related advertisements be banned and demanded greater self-discipline from TV and radio stations.

Shen Hong, a researcher on journalism and communication from Minzu University of China, said that a lack of proper supervision has encouraged the prevalence of sex-related advertisements.

"Stricter punishments should be embodied in a new advertising law, and broadcasters and enterprises should enhance their self-discipline," she said.

China published its advertising law in 1994, but almost no amendments have been made since then.

"I always feel awkward when I watch sexual imagery in advertising on TV, especially when my parents are sitting next to me," said Pan Xian, a 21-year-old college student in Nanjing, East China's Jiangsu province.

"Those commercials should be banned, or at least be broadcast after midnight instead of during the family viewing hours," she added.

The administration has also ordered that each channel should broadcast at least four public service advertisements every night during prime time, which lasts from 7 pm to 9 pm. The length of the public service advertisements should be no less than 3 percent that of commercials.

"The requirement for public service advertisements is put forward with good intentions, but the implementation, which can turn good intentions into great results, is the thing that really matters," Shen said.

Health information programs should also focus on publicizing knowledge about disease prevention, control and treatment, and should not be used to sell drugs and medical devices, the administration said.

Television shopping in China will also be further supervised. According to the administration, the enterprises that advertise their goods falsely or illegally will be deprived of the rights to publicize across the country.

"False TV shopping no doubt should be banned," said a customer surnamed Zhang in Northeast China's Jilin province, who bought a box of "organic hair dye" in October last year to darken his hair, which caused a severe allergy and that resulted in hospitalization.

The administration also said that news anchors should not participate in commercial advertisements, and while airing TV dramas, the stations should not insert any advertisements between the titles and the main body and the end credits.

"Mass media have a great influence on the audience," said Shen. "Greater self-discipline and stricter supervision should be demanded so mass media fulfill their social duties."