Ofcom to phase out junk food ads targeted at children

MUMBAI: UK content regulator Ofcom is going ahead with its earlier announced intentions to restrict television advertising of "junk food" targeting children under 16.

Television advertising that promote food and drinks high in fat, salt and sugar directed towards children will be phased out in a phsed manner from 1 April onwards.

To start with the rules will apply to the under 10 year old category with effect from 1 April, while ads targeted at the under 16 year old segment will be implemented after 1 January 2008.

The three phases will flow out as follows:

- From 1 April 2007, HFSS advertisements will not be permitted in or around programmes made for children (including pre-school children), or in or around programmes that are likely to be of particular appeal to children aged 4-9;

- From 1 January 2008, HFSS advertisements will not be permitted in or around programmes made for children (including pre-school children), or in or around programmes that are likely to be of particular appeal to children aged 4-15.

- As set out in the November Statement, children's channels will be allowed a graduated phase-in period, with full implementation required by the end of December 2008.

Ofcom's co-regulatory partners, the Broadcast Committee on Advertising Practice (BCAP) and the Advertising Standards Authority, are responsible for implementing the new scheduling and content rules and securing compliance respectively. The new rules will form part of the BCAP Television Advertising Standards Code.

New content rules come into effect immediately for new advertising campaigns. Existing advertising campaigns or those in the final stages of creative execution can be broadcast until the end of June 2007. However, from 1 July 2007 all advertising campaigns must comply with the new content rules, adds the release.

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