Fri 27th Sep 2013

Ban alcohol television advertisements to cut crime in SVG

SVG Green Party is deeply concerned about the daily bombardment of tv adverts of alcohol on young people in SVG. Evidence shows that when children are exposed to adverts they tend to drink at an earlier age, to drink more, and are more likely to end up developing a problem with alcohol in later life.

The TV ads on alcohol are specifically attractive to young people, and are a long-term threat to our society, in terms of alcohol related crime and bad health.

In the UK, an alliance of more than 30 leading medical bodies and charities said action is required to protect children. In the UK, alcohol has become the leading cause of death among young men, responsible for 27% of fatalities among those aged 16 to 24 and costs almost 15,000 lives a year.

The UK's tv and radio advertising rules contain strict controls about the placement and content of alcohol advertising. Alcohol ads are banned from appearing in and around programmes commissioned for or principally targeted at audiences below the age of 18, as well as programmes likely to appeal particularly to audiences below the age of 18.

We must take a serious look at alcohol advertising in SVG and consider a ban on tv advertising of alcohol or having no adverts before 10pm.

In Hong Kong, alcohol advertising is not allowed to be shown during family viewing hour programmes. In Sri Lanka, public advertising on alcohol has been banned totally since 2006. Last year, Russia banned alcohol advertising on television, radio, the internet, public transport and billboards, and in print media from the start of 2013, in an attempt to tackle the country's drink problem.

Many countries have recognised the serious threat that alcohol can be to their society. The State has a responsibility to protect our young people from a daily bombardment of alcohol adverts.

Aside from alcohol's effect on young people, we must consider too the effect upon the general public and the link between alcohol and crime.

In South Africa, alcohol is the third leading risk factor for deaths and disabilities and was responsible for 130 deaths every day in South Africa. There is a bill before the Parliament of South Africa to ban tv advertisement of alcohol and sponsorship associated with alcohol.

According to the 2011/12 Crime Survey for England and Wales, there were 917,000 violent incidents where the victim believed the offender(s) to be under the influence of alcohol, accounting for 47% of violent offences committed that year.

In the USA, 40% of prisoners convicted of violent crimes were under the influence of alcohol at the time of their offence and about 3 million violent crimes occur each year in which victims perceive the offender to have been drinking.

Based on victim reports in the USA, alcohol use by the offender was a factor in:

• 37% of rapes and sexual assaults;
• 15% of robberies;
• 27% of aggravated assaults; and
• 25% of simple assaults.

SVG is already overflowing with crime under the incompetent ULP regime. Is the ULP government asleep on this serious matter?

We should be proactive in dealing with alcohol related crime and urgently ban alcohol adverts on TV in SVG.

SVG Green Party

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