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Students ask PM to prohibit booze ads

Students ask PM to prohibit booze ads

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A Chivas whisky billboard adorns the rooftop of a building in Phnom Penh earlier this year. Photograph: Vireak Mai/Phnom Penh Post

A youth NGO is calling on Prime Minister Hun Sen to ban all forms of alcohol advertisements for television and radio in order to reduce alcohol’s harmful effects on society.

In a letter sent to the premier yesterday, the Federation of Cambodian Intellectuals and Students (FedCIS) asks for a ban on alcohol advertisements in broadcast media to help reduce the country’s incidence of traffic accidents, rapes, domestic violence, drug use and hooliganism.

The letter also requests that the government increase the tax on alcohol products.  

“We suggest that the government create a law on alcohol control, and I expect that the government will consider our request,” So Chantha, secretariat director of FedCIS, said yesterday, adding that he had not yet received a response.

In the past year, the government has made several moves to regulate alcohol advertisements short of a total ban.

Last November, Prime Minister Hun Sen announced that all alcohol ads must display the warning: “Don’t drink and drive.” In January, the Phnom Penh municipal government announced that billboards not displaying the warning would be removed.

Minister of Information Khieu Kanharith has issued a series of directives threatening to revoke licences of media organisations that run alcohol promotional ads or suggest that alcohol gives health or strength.

Steven Iddings of the World Health Organisation in Cambodia commended the government’s recent moves against alcohol advertising, noting that such ads are particularly harmful because they target youth.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY JUSTINE DRENNAN

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