ACMA rejects tougher approach to TV adverts aimed at kids

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 7th December 2011

Australia’s broadcasting regulator, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), said today that it will not be making any immediate changes to the Children’s Television Standards in response to concerns about junk food advertising aimed at children.

The ACMA released a report today which examined the Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC)’s ‘Responsible Children’s Marketing Initiative’ and the Quick Service Restaurant Industry (QSR)’s initiative for Responsible Advertising and Marketing to Children.

The ACMA report found that concerns around food and beverage advertising to children continue to exist 18 months after both initiatives began operating. However, the ACMA said it is “unclear” whether the AFGC and QSR initiatives have resulted in a reduction in the level of children’s exposure to food and beverage advertising on free-to-air television.

The ACMA agreed to monitor these initiatives when it reviewed the Children’s Television Standards in 2009.

The ACMA’s report notes the recently created Australian National Preventive Health Agency (‘ANPHA’) and the “key role” it will play in monitoring food advertising and devising obesity prevention strategies in the future.

One of the objectives of the Children’s Television Standards is to protect children from possible harmful effects of television through broadcasting regulation.

A statement released by the ACMA today said, “While the ACMA will not develop program standards on food advertising to children at this time, it will continue to administer the Children’s Television Standards and investigate complaints about prohibited advertising during children’s television programming periods.”

Meanwhile, the South Australian Government and SA Health have brought the ANPHA and the Australian Health Ministers Advisory Council on-board to co-host a national seminar next year to discuss action – and inaction – on “unhealthy food” advertising. Food industry members will be invited to participate in this seminar.