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Hanoi Dialogue

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A most successful Dialogue on Advertising Standards- Principles and Practice was held in Hanoi on 7/8 November 2012. It signaled the beginning of a new era in advertising regulation in the Asia-Pacific Region.

The Dialogue was organized by the Australian Advertising Standards Bureau (ASB) and was sponsored by APEC. It was held under APEC’s Regulatory Cooperation Assistance Mechanism (ARCAM).

Over 50 delegates involved in the regulation of advertising from 17 of the 21 APEC countries participated in the Dialogue.

In a summary of the Dialogue the ASB said,

Themes covered during the two-day event included the importance of advertising to the free flow of goods and services, effective advertising regulation, good regulatory governance in advertising, and best practices for regulatory as well as self-regulatory practices covering advertising content and complaint resolution.  

The Dialogue agreed there are several key elements that both foster and characterise the effective self-regulation of advertising, including:

  • An effective regulatory framework that acknowledges and promotes the role of industry-led advertising standards in helping to achieve agreed policy objectives.
  • The establishment of an impartial, accountable, accessible and transparent self–regulatory system that is compliant with the law and follows an internationally accepted best practice model. 
  • Regardless of the regulatory model adopted by each APEC member economy, there are existing international best practices with respect to advertising self-regulation from which the region could draw.
  • Effective advertising regulation does not require the simultaneous implementation of all best practice components, particularly when the SRO is in its formative stages. 

 The Dialogue discussed the European Advertising Standards Alliance (EASA) Best Practice Self-Regulatory Model of April 2004 which identifies best practices identified following extensive consultation with regulators, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and public interest groups.

It was noted that these best practices have already been adopted to varying degrees by self-regulatory organisations (SROs) in 13 APEC economies and might be suitable for adoption within APEC.

The Dialogue agreed adoption of a universal and effective code which draws on the International Chamber of Commerce’s Consolidated Code of Advertising and Marketing Practice would also be a useful first step for APEC economies starting out onto consider.

A report on the Dialogue outcomes will be presented to APEC with a view to encouraging further progress on the initiative. The Advertising Standards Bureau will encourage APEC support for the alignment of regulatory frameworks in acknowledgement of advertising’s role in economic growth and the role that self-regulation plays in building consumer trust in the market.  The report recommendations also reflect the importance of reducing and preventing barriers to trade through the development of SROs on the basis of international best practice.

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