SUBMISSION TO THE PARLIAMENTARY HEALTH PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON THE TOBACCO PRODUCTS CONTROL AMENDMENT BILL
PRINT MEDIA ASSOCIATION OF SOUTH AFRICA
18 September 1998
Submissions on the amendments to the Tobacco Act have been called for in both written and verbal form. This is our written submission and we reserve the right to a verbal submission, which we have applied for by copy of a letter attached to the Appendices attached to this submission.
It has been stated that "A problem hilly understood is a problem half solved". We understand that the major objectives of the Tobacco Products Control Amendment Bill is to attempt to reduce smoking amongst the youth of South Africa and that advertising is a major cause of them taking up the habit.
To defend we quote Martin Luther King who said. "Knowledge is power". Surely, therefore, the objective should be to empower the youth with the necessary knowledge to make an intelligent choice as opposed to declining them any information. This is the nub of our submission.
Whilst we accept and commend the necessities of the Bill in its endevours to control the places: of smoking, to control the saIe to minors and to limit the content of glamorised lifestyles in advertisement, we cannot accept the immediate, outright banning of the advertising and promotion of the product category.
2. Who is the PMA?
2.1 The PMA is a voluntary association of pubIishers of daily newspaper weekend and weekly newspapers, community papers, consumer magazine's, special interest magazines, trade and technical publications, of which there are some 600 titles in the membership
2.2 This membership is embodied in four specialist organisation, all of whom are members of the Print Media Association. These member organisations are the Newspaper Association of South Africa (NA formerly NPU), the Magazine Publishers Association of South Africa (MPA), the Community Press Association of South Africa (CPA) and the Specialist Press Association of South Africa (SPA).
2.3 The Print Media Association therefore represents the power of the printed word in South Africa,
2.4 We are therefore the eyes and ears of the nation within the constitutional rights of the freedoms expressed in the Constitution -freedoms of the press and the freedom to impart information and ideas.
2.5 As such, we see ourselves as disseminating information so that the South African public is informed and able to make intelligent decisions and choices. We are therefore the conscience of the country
2.6 As part of our duty to South Africa, we are involved in assisting in the educational process through Print Media in Education (PMIE) and we are therefore in touch with the educationalists of this country, which is a critical element in addressing the youth as seen as a major objective in our preamble Section 1.
3. Why are we submitting this paper?
3.1 Banning of the advertising has no marked effect whatsoever as proven by studies conducted across the globe.
3.2 What such banning will do is dramatically reduces the advertising income of the majority of our members' titles and this will put a considerable number of jobs in jeopardy within the publishing industry.
3.3 In addition, it will put a number of titles into difficult financial circumstances.
3.4 It will also dramatically reduce the opportunity of the launching of new publications and it is noted that niche publications air. the world phenomena at this pain in time hut, as such, tend to be financially inadequate, particularly in the early days. Support from the tobacco industry is noted in all of these areas.
3.5 Banning of the advertising is also a contravention of the constitutional freedom to conduct our businesses an within a market driven economy
3.6 The loss of income from tobacco advertising will result in a considerabIe reduction of income into the Tobacco Advertising Research Foundation (SAARF), which is a qualitative research study assisting the whole of the marketing communications industry in ensuring that the rands spent on advertising are "Bullseyed" and not wasted. Such research would have to be curtailed, the information dramatically reduced and the end result could be wasteful advertising rands.
3.7 Also the reduction in income will undoubtedly affect the transformation of the industry because there will be lesser jobs available and affirmative action in the industry would also be impeded because there would be excess experienced staff available to be used.
3.8 It would be simplistic and naive to think alternative revenue sources are awaiting the advertising space currently utilised by the tobacco industry. In any economy, the advertising moneys are not inexhaustible and it is particularly so in today's South Africa economy.
3.9 With rising costs all around us in terms of paper materials, people and the like, product prices are held down by advertising volume and this will be dramatically affected by the banning of a volume category such as tobacco with a major detrimental effect on cover prices, which results in both lets viability of publications and less reading by South Africans. This we know results in greater A literacy, the scourge that is affecting our competitiveness (see enclosed supplement).
4. What are our concerns?
4.1 Already either product categories Advertising banning: are being suggested, such as liquor. The domino effect of the banning and interference in the rights of free commercial speech are going to dramatically affect the publishing industry and print media in South Africa.
4. 2 Statutory regulation is not the solution has been proven world-wide. To coin yet another phrase, "Where there’s a will there’s a way" and already the tobacco industry has found other ways of promoting products where bannings of advertising have been effected. Korea has a notable case, which is already in the department's hands.
4.3 Self regulation is the world-wide solution and it is our fervent belief that the Department of Health should work together with the Advertising Standards Authority Of South Africa (ASA, the effective, world-recognised body of self regulation in this country). This will gain industry and peer recognition and acceptance.
4.4 Banning of advertising will mean the disappearance of all of the warnings in the advertisements and, as stated in the preamble, we need a better educated, not an ignorant youth. Warnings need to be elaborated upon, not eradicated.
4.5 In various conferences, it has often bean stated that the lift style advertising is a major concern and problem. To this end we recommend working together with the ASA and yourselves to address such style and content related issues in the first instance.
4.6 The loss of income stated in Section 3 will also dramatically affect our media's ability to assist Government in other campaigns such as the recent request for our participation in the AIDS Partnership Programme
5. How do we suggest this sensitive issue be handled?
5.1 Review the style the content and the placing rules and regulations pertaining to tobacco advertising.
5.2 To do this in conjunction with the Print Media industry and the Advertising Standards Authority, as well as the freedom of Commercial Speech Trust and all other interested parties and, to this end, we offer our facilities find facilitation if you so desire.
5.3 To negotiate a slow down in advertising that has been accepted in the European Union, and to this end, it is advertising both of products as well as events and promotions
5.4 To develop a youth educational programme which we will support.
5.5 Within the context of this programme we will give consideration to ways and means of encompassing it m our PMIE efforts.
5.6 Let us work together, in our mutual interest which are in the interests of the country and us peoples per se.
5.7 To readdress the age limitations, moving them from 16 years of age to 18 years of age, winch is the legalised adult age of South Africa and which affords us the opportunity to better monitor our readers and exposure of the advertising
5.8 Let's talk and work together in the interests of the youth of our AND in the interests of a better informed society.