Late last year the Radio Authority published a modernised Advertising and Sponsorship Code.
Who: Radio Authority
When: December 2000
late last year the Radio Authority published a modernised Advertising and Sponsorship Code. There were no earth-shattering changes, but adjustments to bring the code into line with new and imminent legislation and various other timely revisions. Some changes were to make the code consistent with the ITC's Code of Advertising Standards and Practice in respect of television advertising. For instance the now not-so-new comparative advertising controls introduced by the Control of Misleading Advertisements (Amendment) Regulations 2000, in force for nearly a year now, are finally incorporated into the Code. Separately, some products can now be advertised on the radio for the first time, for instance hypno-therapists' and psychiatrists services. Revised scheduling rules require networks to use responsible judgement in scheduling advertising around news and current affairs programmes, whilst in the area of medical helplines a significant change has been made. There had been considerable unrest amongst private healthcare insurance providers running medical helpline services to their policy holders personned by doctors. This was because the Radio Authority was refusing to allow these services to be advertised whilst allowing NHS Direct to advertise its own similar service providing advice by nurses. Now, in place of a previous wide-ranging ban, the code now allows advertising for such services where advice is given by "suitably qualified health professionals acting in accordance with their relevant code of conduct and those codes are recognised by the Radio Authority.
Why this matters:
The beauty of codes, as opposed to legal controls, is the comparative ease with which revisions can be made to cater for changing attitudes, rules and sensitivities. With this revised code the Radio Authority has ensured that its guidelines are not out of kilter with recent legal changes or the ITC's TV advertising code.