New Alcohol Bill Causes Controversy - The Reykjavik Grapevine

New Alcohol Bill Causes Controversy

Published March 26, 2012

A new bill regarding the use of alcohol in advertisements has proved very divisive, with some threatening to take the government to court if it passes.
The bill in question, Eyjan reports, would utterly ban the advertisement of alcoholic beverages, including those under 2.25% alcohol. Showing the use of alcohol would be prohibited in the media as well.
The bill is being submitted by Minister of the Interior Ögmundur Jónasson, and has the support of the Directorate of Health, The National Olympic and Sports Association of Iceland, and the National Center of Addiction Medicine, who showed their support for the bill in a statement which reads, “Advertisements are an important part of access to goods. Advertisements are intended to increase demand. Increased demand for and increased use of alcohol increases the societal damage of use: an increase of deaths, accidents and health problems linked to [alcohol] use, increases to the costs to the health industry and the court system, and gives pain to the individual and their families.”
Not everyone agrees, though. The Federation of Iceland Industries criticised the bill as being unfair to Icelandic beer producers, especially brewers just starting out. The products of these producers, they argue, do not have the name-brand recognition in place to be able to survive in the market without some form of advertisement or visibility.
The Federation of Trade & Services agrees, saying that the passage of this bill would violate European law regarding the treatment of producers; that this could put the government in danger of being taken to court over the matter. Even the media giant 365 has entered the story, saying that it is out of the question that the law would absolutely eliminate the depiction of alcohol use in advertisements. On the contrary, they argue, producers would instead increase their advertising presence on the internet – the bill would thereby have the opposite of its intended effect.

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