Saturday, August 29, 2009

Print media allowed only 15 liquor ads

by May Kyaw
Friday, 28 August 2009 19:39

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – Before the blanket ban on liquor advertisements come into effect on January 1, 2010, the Burmese Censor Board is allowing ads for only 15 brands of liquor and beverages in the in print media, journal and magazines.

Though the ban on liquor advertisements in the print media in Burma starts on January 1, next year, some brands are exempted until that deadline.

They are the Grand Royal and Eagle manufactured by IBTC, all beers manufactured by Myanmar Brewery, Myanmar Whisky, May Myo Wine, Label 99 and Royal Club manufactured by PMG (Peace Myanmar Group), sources close to the Censor Board said.

The board, notorious for its stringent censorship rules, declined to comment on its criteria while drawing up the exemption list. The board did not clarify this with a formal announcement. However, local media circles believe that the exemptions are for all the ads which have already been paid for by customers to the print media.

"They (censor board) recognize all these ads more than we do. They even notice as soon as the design of the ads is changed," a magazine editor said.

For the majority of the print media in Burma, liquor and beverage ads are the main source of revenue. A news weekly journal source said that the ban will affect their publication.

"The revenue from liquor and beverage advertisements can cover 10 to 25 per cent of the total publication costs. If they are totally banned, it is certain that the sustainability of the publication of this media will be at stake," an editor said.

Since 2007 November, the government has banned billboards and hoardings relating to all liquor, beverages and cigarettes. Such a ban was enforced in television earlier.