The Newspaper Society is to bolster Britain’s self-regulatory
system of advertising control against potential threats from judges and
The body, which represents the UK’s regional and local newspapers, is
insisting the Government must amend the bill incorporating the European
Human Rights Convention into British law if self-regulation is not to be
It is also calling for the Advertising Standards Authority not to be put
in jeopardy by the proposed Competition Bill amid fears that the ASA’s
codes and copy clearance procedures could be rendered unlawful, leading
to damages claims for anti-competitive behaviour.
At the same time, the society will put pressure on the Government, which
assumes the presidency of the European Union in January, to re-examine
its proposed ban on tobacco advertising or, at the very least, give an
undertaking that it will not extend it to other areas such as alcohol or
children’s snack products.
The society’s initiative is in response to a growing tendency by
advertisers operating in highly competitive markets to have ASA
decisions overturned by the courts.
David Newell, the society’s director, said: ’We feel the Human Rights
Bill and the Competition Bill will affect not only the ASA quite
fundamentally but all the other trade associations that make
self-regulation work. Unless the bills are amended the ASA is going to
get increasingly caught up in litigation.’
Meanwhile, the society is proposing to make media and advertising law
and copy services available to other trade bodies.