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Media Regulator Cracks Down on Disguised Advertising

The ban on advertisements disguised as health-related TV programmes in China has achieved significant results since it was strictly enforced on 1 January 2015, according to the country’s media regulator, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television. With continual stepped-up efforts in supervision, the authorities are committed not to allow disguised advertisements to mislead consumers and any violations will be dealt with severely.

Pursuant to the Circular on Improving the Production and Airing of Health-related Programmes, the Administration began to strictly implement a record filing system on New Year’s Day. TV broadcasters are required to submit information regarding their health-related programmes. The Administration has since conducted ongoing supervision of the TV stations/channels concerned, effectively curbing violations in the form of advertisement disguised as health-related programme.

22 Ads ordered off the air

The Administration demanded TV broadcasters at all levels to immediately stop airing 22 pieces of disguised illegal advertisements including Mingji Hui, Mingji Tianxia and Mingji Fang (all of which were about wines) on 27 January. Among these, 11 were on liquor, six on slimming and freckles removing cream products, four on hair dyes and salon products, as well as one in the form of documentary exaggerating the effectiveness of certain micronutrients elements on cancer prevention.

According to officials in charge at the Administration, the new measure has effectively stopped the practice of airing illegal advertisements disguised as health-related TV programmes. But some new problems have emerged. Some satellite TV stations have turned to airing illegal advertisements disguised as other programmes which are produced and presented by advertisers and advertising companies. These programmes usually promote products and services such as high-end liquor, slimming and freckles removing, and beauty and salon products. They typically feature interactions between the host and the guests, as well as consumer testimonials. These programmes can seriously mislead consumers and urgent action is needed to rectify the situation.

Content provided by Picture: HKTDC Research
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