UK television advertising standards code to be revised from Monday

 LONDON: Television in the UK will have to adhere to a revised advertising standards code from 2 September.

The Independent Television Commission (ITC), which licenses and regulates commercially funded television services in country, announced the revisions today, after extensive consultations with broadcasters, advertisers and other interested parties. The code was last revised in 1998.

The ITC produces an industry code and operates backstop compliance procedures to prevent harm, offence and misleading effects of television advertising. According to the ITC, the revised code is organised more clearly, and provides guidance on underlying principles and the reasoning behind them.

ITC director of programmes and advertising Sarah Thane says that the commission's aim has been to seek views on the current rules and to incorporate best practice and recent developments into the code. "The basic policies remain very much as they were, and as our research indicates viewers want them to be, but we have sought to put them into a more user-friendly format," she adds.

The ITC requires licensees to ensure that broadcast advertisements are not in breach of the ITC's code and rules. This duty is performed by the Broadcast Advertising Clearance Centre (BACC) on behalf of the ITV companies, Channel 4, Channel 5, BskyB and some other cable and satellite channels. Most of the BACC's pre-vetting work is carried out directly with advertising agencies at script stage. According to the commission, ITC licensees and the BACC have already been notified. The ITC will offer industry seminars later this year to answer any questions relating to the code and the revisions, according to an official release.

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