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Ofcom proposal to renew the co-regulatory arrangements for broadcast advertising

Under the Communications Act 2003, Ofcom has a duty to set broadcast standards in advertising and to prevent the inclusion of advertising in licensed services that may be misleading, harmful or offence.

In 2004, Ofcom contracted out certain functions relating to the regulation of broadcast advertising content under co-regulatory arrangements with the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). Those arrangements expire later this year.

Ofcom now proposes to renew the existing arrangements for a further ten year period. The basis for possible renewal is set out in a letter to Lord Smith, Chairman of the ASA. 

Whilst Ofcom does not propose any substantive changes to the current arrangements, the proposal includes a certain number of minor changes to reflect current and established practice, recognising how the operation of the co-regulatory system has evolved over the last ten years.

These include the following areas:

  • teleshopping and other non-spot advertising content
  • political advertising
  • interactive and other new forms of advertising
  • audience research, and
  • monitoring and performance reporting.

Other changes remove material that relates principally to the inception and initial implementation of the co-regulatory system.

Ofcom invites comments on its proposal to renew the existing co-regulatory arrangements and is keen to hear from all interested parties.

More details on how to respond to the consultation can be found here.

Comments should be submitted by 17:00 on Friday 30 May 2014.

This article was written by Vanessa Barnett.

For more information contact Vanessa on +44 (0)20 7203 5228 or vanessa.barnett@crsblaw.com