Britain’s newspapers are urging the chancellor, Gordon Brown, to
water down new laws that could force them to turn away thousands of
pounds worth of advertising.
They fear they could land in court if they fail to carry out the checks
needed to ensure that the ads comply with the upcoming legislation.
Their action has been sparked by the Financial Services and Markets
Bill, which is expected to get Royal Assent by October.
The Newspaper Society, which represents 1,400 titles in the UK, is
worried about what it claims is an unacceptably wide drafting of a
clause in the bill covering ads that include an invitation to
Newspaper Society executives say the clause may catch advertisers to
whom the legislation was never intended to apply. Property advertising,
which often focuses on investment potential, is a major area that could
’This is causing us considerable worry and the ad industry should be
worried about it too,’ Philip Circus, the Newspaper Society’s
advertising law consultant, said. ’Newspapers may be reluctant to accept
certain ads if they feel their position isn’t safe.’
Under the new legislation, which updates the 1986 Financial Services
Act, financial ads may only run if they have been approved by somebody
authorised by the Financial Services Authority.
The Newspaper Society is calling for the clause to be amended so that
property and other advertising is not accidentally caught up in it. It
is also calling for newspapers to be freed of the obligation of checking
their financial ads.