Between the Lines: Junk-food ban on the menu

It's with beautiful timing that Weight Watchers is making a new bid to improve the image of fat-fighters clubs in the week Tony Blair reiterates the threat to junk-food advertising to children (page 1).

On the one hand, it seems we're becoming a nation obsessed by food; on the other, a nation obsessed by food advertising. And you can be forgiven for feeling confused and ground-down by the constant onslaught on our industry.

Barely a week goes by now without another voice added to the food ad debate and the only certainty is that self-regulation will not be the end of it - especially if the new threat from a super-group comprising the Church of England, Labour activists and parent pressure groups has anything to do with it. This coven is calling for a ban on advertising in any form to children under 12.

It is, of course, a ridiculous position as it ignores advertising's ability for positive persuasion on issues such as healthy eating, road safety and educational toys. It is also commercial censorship, which has no place in a free market economy.


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