Restrictions going too far?

The Government of Nepal has proposed stringent laws to regulate the alcohol consumption in the country. The government officials, through this executive order, claim that the influence of advertising on underage drinking as well as incidents of violence and crime will plummet. The new bill, if enacted, will prohibit liquor advertisements in both print and electronic media. The directive also bars the manufacturers of alcoholic beverages to sponsor sporting events, concerts and other public events.

This complete ban on alcohol advertising will have a devastating impact on the alcohol industry. As these alcohol manufacturers promote their events through media platforms and are deemed to be one of the biggest spenders of a whole lot of public programs, the market for advertisements will go down.

Even though the government claims that banning alcohol advertisements will reduce consumption and tackle the problem of alcohol misuse, this argument cannot be validated by international evidences. A study on 17 OECD countries concluded that advertisement bans have not decreased alcohol consumption or alcohol abuse. Likewise, the previous ban imposed by the Government of Nepal on cigarette advertisements couldn’t do any good either.

Similarly, the real consequence of a ban might be to position price as the only meaningful differentiator between alcohol brands – forcing prices down and consumption up. Moreover, the clampdown on drinking will encourage attempts to circumvent the ban that will also surge the consumption of alcohol.

 Thus, this blanket ban on advertising will not serve the government’s intended purpose.

 

 

Ankshita Chaudhary

Ankshita is working as the Research and Communications Officer. She is a Bachelors in Business Administration graduate from Kathmandu University. She regularly writes articles and blogs to promote alternative outlooks on contemporary political-economic debates in Nepal. She reserves interest in the area of federalism, entrepreneurship and economic development; and aspires to create institutional and policy reforms that promote evidence-based policy making in their practices.

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