New TV guidelines on tobacco, alcohol scenes:
Mosaics out, warning messages a must
*Broadcasters required to include health
*Tobacco, alcohol cause for loss of over
40,000 lives yearly
Authorities are set to issue new regulations which allow television
broadcasters to do away with mosaics or blurred images masking tobacco
and alcohol scenes in their programmes but which require them to carry
messages warning of the dangers and ill-effects of tobacco and alcohol
when such programmes are aired.
Broadcasters would be required to run health and other warning
messages or images which show the illnesses, suffering, financial losses
etc. due to tobacco and alcohol use at the bottom during the entire
length of such scenes from September 1.
“This mosaic mechanism has not been authorized by us. It has only
brought the wrath of the public on the authorities,” National Authority
on Tobacco and Alcohol (NATA) chief Prof Carlo Fonseka said. Prof
Fonseka said that a series of new guidelines to prevent encouragement of
tobacco and alcohol use in the entertainment media would come into
effect from next month.
These guidelines would include the non-inclusion of scenes which
encourage tobacco and alcohol use, in future productions.
NATA would also encourage producers to include scenes depicting the
negative aspects of smoking and alcohol use.
“Through depiction of alcohol and tobacco use in films and
tele-dramas, the entertainment media violates the provisions of the NATA
Act,” Prof Fonseka added.
NATA would also issue guidelines which would prevent celebrities
being exploited by the industry for advertisements which would encourage
tobacco and alcohol use.
Prof Fonseka speaking during a media awareness campaign organized by
the Jeevaka Foundation on tobacco control, said that there was evidence
that the modes of entertainment such as films, tele-dramas and music
greatly impact on people’s day-to-day attitudinal behaviours.
He said that the famous medical journal titled Pediatrics in 2002
revealed that 52 percent of non-smoking parents’ children had been
initiated to smoking by following actors and actresses smoking in films.
Another medical journal titled Lancert in 2003 revealed that the
propensity of children watching television for more than five hours is
six times more than the children watching TV less than two hours.
Similarly, according to information that appeared in 2005 in
Pediatrics, a study conducted using 6,522 youths randomly chosen,
revealed that they were initiated into smoking by watching such scenes
In Sri Lanka both tobacco and alcohol are responsible for the loss of
over 40,000 lives yearly. With the enactment of the National Alcohol and
Tobacco Act No. 27, any form of advertising, promotion and sponsorship
of tobacco and alcohol products was banned. However using subtle
strategies the two industries are trying to creep through the law, Prof.