The Advertising Board of Nepal (ABN) has published a draft of the code of conduct for the advertising sector.
In a programme organised on Monday in the Capital to celebrate the completion of two years since the establishment of the board, it said that feedbacks and suggestions from the stakeholders and experts would be sought for a month before giving the document a final shape.
A stakeholder discussion on the draft was held on the same day to solicit suggestions on it where representatives of the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology, Advertising Association of Nepal (AAN), Department of Information, Federation of Nepalese Journalists, Press Council Nepal, Media Alliance, Media Society, Association of Community Radio Broadcasters, and various media houses deliberated on the provisions of the code of conduct.
The Government of Nepal and AAN had prepared a draft of Advertising Code of Conduct about a decade ago but it couldn’t be finalised and implemented due to the lack of commitment on the part of both the stakeholders.
Laxman Humagain, Executive Chairman of the Advertising Board, said that the board had put its efforts in the past two years in creating policy foundations for the advertising sector and code of conduct was a part of that initiative.
Informing that the national policy for the advertising sector would be formulated within a year, he said that the board had finalised the standards for welfare advertising which will be extended to the online news media as well.
Due to the lack of accurate data of media reach and access, advertisers are confused and advertising has not been effective. The board is also set to create policy and technical environment to collect such statistics. It also aims to address the concerns about growing advertising on social media and decreasing trend in traditional mass media.
Minister for Communication and Information Technology, Gyanendra Bahadur Karki, said that the language, style and expressions in advertising make impact on people so it should be kept simple, mature and fair.
He suggested the advertising agencies and media to refrain from fake claims and misleading information about the product.
“Advertising agencies should be aware of the laws and standards of advertising and must not violate the current laws and regulations,” said Minister Karki.
He expressed the government’s commitment to make advertising decent and fair and said that welfare advertising by the government had helped to expand the advertising market and support media entrepreneurs.
Shekhar Golchha, President of Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI), said that the contribution made by the clean feed policy on advertising and media was not visible yet so ABN should pay enough attention to this.
“Advertising sector witnessed a loss of about Rs. 6 billion in revenue during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, in line with media, advertising should also be identified as the most-affected sector,” he said. There should be a cooperation between the ABN and advertising entrepreneurs to promote Nepal’s tourism attractions in the international market, he stated.
Bhaskar Raj Rajkarnikar, President of Media Alliance, criticised the government’s policy to distribute advertising in a proportional manner.
“Advertising should not be distributed on a proportional basis. Rather, it should be done through the media that have wider reach and access. Advertising is meant for brand building and promotion of products, so it must yield results in sales,” he said.
According to him, advertising of the multinational companies must be developed in local language, only then will it support in the growth of the advertising market in Nepal. Stakeholders also voiced their concerns to make the transaction between the media, advertising agencies and advertisers transparent. Payment to the advertising on social media channels like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube is illegally made, this should be regulated, they said.
Dr. Baikuntha Aryal, Secretary of the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology, suggested the board to find out illegal transactions made for advertising in the foreign media and social media.
Likewise, misleading advertising should be curbed for the greater public interest and stakeholders should come together in checking this practice, he stated.
He urged the advertising agencies and media to maintain self-regulation for fair content and fair business.
Som Prasad Dhital, President of Advertising Association of Nepal, said that there was a growth of about Rs. 2 billion following the implementation of clean feed a year ago. According to him, had the pandemic not occurred, the policy would contribute to the growth of about Rs. 8 billion. With this, the size of advertising market has reached over Rs. 14 billion. Dhital also claimed that the transaction of about Rs. 5 billion was made illegally for social media advertising to the foreign parties.
“We have urged the government to announce a policy to force the foreign brands to spend at least 5 per cent of their total income here in Nepal in advertising and promotion,” he said. According to AAN, Nepal advertising market includes Rs. 3.35 billion for print, Rs. 2.77 billion for TV, Rs. 1.33 billion for radio, Rs. 1.65 billion for outdoor, Rs. 2.55 billion for online news portals and Rs. 2.37 billion for social media.
Source : TRN,