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Kampong Speu alcohol advertising removal nears completion

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A man removes a beer advertising sign at a restaurant in Kampong Speu province. Kampong Speu Provincial Administration

Kampong Speu alcohol advertising removal nears completion

Voluntary dismantling of billboards and banners advertising alcoholic beverages in Kampong Speu province is almost 90 per cent complete and authorities have allowed businesses which have not removed advertising until the middle of the month to complete the task.

This has prompted Kep province to follow suit, with authorities announcing they will replace alcohol advertising with educational material about preventing Covid-19.

Kampong Speu provincial governor Vei Samnang told The Post on June 8 that everybody was participating in the removal of alcoholic drinks advertising in their homes.

As for advertising in public places, companies have removed a lot of billboards and banners, but limited manpower due to the pandemic had slowed progress and the provincial administration extended the deadline to June 15.

“Most people have removed the advertising from their houses, which is 80 to 90 per cent complete across the province. If the company couldn’t meet the deadline, we have a team that can do it with the company responsible for any costs,” he said.

Samnang said the provincial administration has no plans to replace the billboards. Instead, he prefers to save funds and people who have removed billboards from their homes can replace them with their favourite posters in accordance with provincial policies.

“People may think that billboards in public places have to be replaced using government funds. However, the fact is that companies paid to use that space.

“So, when they remove banners, it’s finished. We will not spend money on this, we will use the money to build roads and other more useful activities,” he said.

On May 24, the provincial administration issued a notice to business owners who used billboards to advertise alcoholic beverages in the province to remove them to ensure public order, especially to promote the dignity of province.

In a similar move, the Kep Provincial Administration has also issued a letter to business owners to remove banners or billboards containing various kinds of promotional products and replace them with educational content about preventing Covid-19.

A letter signed by provincial governor Som Piseth dated June 3 states: “In order to fight Covid, the provincial administration will distribute educational information about Covid-19 prevention, especially the ‘three dos and three don’ts’ in parks and public places from June 10.”

Piseth said in a letter that owners of companies or advertising businesses have to remove banners or billboards containing certain promotional material.

“Publication of educational content is the responsibility of the provincial administration and removing the advertising must completed by June 9.

“In case of non-compliance with this notice, the provincial administration will dismantle the signs and all the expenses will be paid by the company owner and the provincial administration will not be responsible for any damages.”

Mom Kong, executive director for the NGO Cambodia Movement for Health, applauded the move as a good start, but he still wants legislation to regulate the consumption of alcohol in the country.

Kong said the promotion of alcohol encourages people to drink and it is the main cause of traffic accidents, health issues and domestic violence.

“I keep saying this is a good start. But our people are drinking heavily, which is contrary to our government’s ‘three dos and three don’ts’ health guidelines to prevent the spread of Covid-19. It’s better if there is a law to control this problem,” he said.

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