Some NGOs and youth groups yesterday urged the government and relevant ministries to prevent alcohol advertisements, saying alcohol has a negative impact on society and affects the health of consumers.
In a public speaking competition under the theme “Alcohol Advertisements” held yesterday at the National Pediatric Hospital, Mom Kong, executive director of the Cambodian Movement for Health, said current alcohol advertisements used many images to attract new consumers.
Alcohol has many negative effects, such as causing more than 200 non-communicable diseases, traffic accidents and domestic violence, he noted.
“As we are public health officers, we support the will of the people who want to see the law on the management of alcohol approved,” Mr Kong said. “If the law is approved, our people will see many benefits. First, alcohol will have less impact on people’s health and second, accidents that destroy human life and property will decrease as will violence and poverty from excessive alcohol use.”
The government submitted a draft law on alcohol regulation in 2015 but it has since stalled.
Dim Lychheang, a student at Norton University, said the rise of alcohol advertisements in media, on billboards, at concerts and on social networks affected society, especially youth.
“Alcohol advertisements encourage youths to try it. Alcohol also affects society and families. Therefore, the relevant ministries must create a law to prevent alcohol advertisements and enforce the law effectively,” he said.
Try Sophy, a student at the Royal University of Phnom Penh, also urged the government and relevant ministries to create measures to prevent alcohol advertisements and accelerate the adoption of a draft law on alcohol management.
“Only the law can restrict alcohol advertisements in the country. The Information Ministry in the past warned of closing any media outlet that advertised alcohol while offering big prizes, but no one was shut down. The advertisements only increased,” he said.
Sim Sam, a representative of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport who attended the event, said he was concerned that alcohol advertisements had a massive impact on young people.
“All the ministries and institutions have to work together because this is a common problem that cannot be resolved by any ministry alone,” he said, imploring young people to not drink alcohol as it would negatively affect their health.
Chhean Leang, an official from the Ministry of Information, said the ministry always blocked alcohol advertisements through the media as well as restricted the hours they could advertise, but declined further comment.
The Information Ministry has also issued a notice to media outlets, including TV, radio and newspapers, to cease running advertisements for alcohol between 6pm and 8pm, and warned of suspending broadcasts and withdrawing licences of any outlets not following the directive.