Information Minister Khieu Kanharith yesterday said after a meeting with members of the Supreme Consultative Council that the ministry will consider restricting the advertisement of alcoholic beverages, despite a lack of laws on the sale of alcoholic products in the Kingdom.
The issue was first brought up earlier this month by members of the council, who said that the ads negatively influence youth.
Phos Sovann, director general of the ministry’s general department of information and broadcasting, yesterday said after the meeting that Mr Kanharith was receptive of all ideas and recommendations made by the council, including the ones on the reduction of alcoholic beverage advertisements.
“The results are good and we received their recommendations. They were also receptive of our explanations,” Mr Sovann said. “We will implement the recommendations after we have a law on the management of alcoholic products. Right now it is difficult because there are no laws to control alcoholic management.”
“We realise that the ads affect society, but not everyone is affected because only four percent of road accidents were caused by drunk driving,” he added.
Mr Sovann said that the Information Ministry is currently working with the other ministries. He said that in 2015, the Health Ministry began drafting a law to regulate alcoholic beverages and the advertisement of alcoholic products.
In 2015, the Health Ministry said that the draft law was finalised in July that year and is now in the hands of the National Assembly.
In its current state, the draft law consists of 39 articles and 11 chapters aiming to take measures to manage and control alcohol.
Civil society groups have said in the past that it is time for the government to curtail the negative impact of excessive alcohol consumption in the Kingdom.
Mom Kong, executive director of Cambodia Movement for Health, on Sunday said advertisements of alcoholic beverages display messages attractive to young people.
Mr Kong said the government must regulate the advertisement of alcoholic products.
“Alcoholic drink advertisements is the main reason why people consume a lot of alcohol,” Mr Kong said. “Some even start drinking at an early age.”
SCC member Kong Monika yesterday said the council wants to urge the government to protect the younger generation from the dangers of drunk driving.
“The government has regulated dangerous products in the past, such as the warning labeling of cigarette packs,” Mr Monika said. “We hope the Information Ministry will consider the same for alcoholic beverages.”
“Because of the ads, we see that Cambodians as young as 14-years-old begin drinking,” he added. “It affects society – we can’t train our human resources if they are always involved in drugs and alcohol.”