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Political gulf kills off legislative initiative on restrictions on alcohol advertising

MP Kerola: "Parliament can be a sock-puppet if it so desires.”

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Much as predicted, the Finnish government will not produce a legislative proposal to impose restrictions on image advertising of alcoholic beverages during the current term of office.
      The Parliamentary Committee on Social Affairs and Health negotiators of the government parties held a short meeting on the subject on Tuesday morning.
      Minister of Social Services Paula Risikko (Nat. Coalition Party) and Minister of Social Affairs and Health Juha Rehula (Centre), announced that unanimity was not reached with regard to the content of the bill to limit image advertising of alcohol.
      The ministers stated that there was consensus over the objectives of the amendment. The differences with regard to how to reach these objectives, however, proved insurmountable.
The National Coalition Party’s idea was to compile a list of banned advertising messages.
      The Centre Party, in turn, wanted a law that would specifically list permissible information that the advertisements should contain.
      The principal aim for both parties was to seek ways to restrict the effects of image advertising of alcoholic beverages on children and young adults.
      The wheels were set in motion last year, when 106 of Finland’s 200 Members of Parliament signed an initiative by MP Inkeri Kerola (Centre), calling for a ban on all image advertising for alcohol.
      Kerola has since become the chairwoman of the Parliament’s Social Affairs and Health Committee, after Rehula became a minister.
Kerola expressed her bitterness after Tuesday’s decision.
      “This shows that Parliament can be a sock-puppet if it so desires”, she said.
      Kerola said that the committee would have had time to go through the legislative proposal this week and next.
      She also offered the reminder that the government had promised a proposal on five separate occasions.
      Kerola blamed the National Coalition Party for advocating aims other than those of a social and health policy nature. She did not specify what she meant by this.
      “It is shameful that political games and the interests of industry come before the well-being of Finnish children and youngsters”, other members of the committee said in their announcement.
      The National Coalition Party replied to them that the industry had vehemently objected to Risikko’s proposal. The collapse of the bill had been widely expected in recent weeks.

Previously in HS International Edition:
  Government parties clash on restrictions on alcohol advertising (25.2.2011)
  Alcohol consumption in Finland declined for third year in succession (16.2.2011)

See also:
  Future beer adverts may contain an image of just a bottle (26.5.2010)
  No changes to rules on alcohol advertising (4.6.2010)

Helsingin Sanomat

  2.3.2011 - TODAY
 Political gulf kills off legislative initiative on restrictions on alcohol advertising

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