Kyrgyzstan to regulate rates for social advertising in media

A draft law on social advertising is being developed in Kyrgyzstan by members of parliament, the government, the ministry of health, NGOs, journalists and lawyers.

Zaituna Abdullo

2009-12-08

KYRGYZSTAN — Parliament deputies have announced an initiative to develop a new draft law on social advertising that involves a group of its members, ministry of health representatives, NGOs, journalists and lawyers.

The media coordinator for the UN Development Programme on HIV/AIDS, Elina Karakulova, said changes proposed by the group would form amendments to the law on mass media and advertising. In addition, they would clarify their role in informing the public of ways to improve the health of the population and advance other social priority objectives of the government.

NGOs and commercial message producers and journalists are debating financial aspects of the law. Zhavlon Mirzakhodzhayev, the head of Our Children, a philanthropic foundation, notes that his non-profit organisation has created documentary films, television programmes and commercials on social themes for three years, primarily focusing on children with limited physical capabilities, but is being charged for their placements at the same rates as commercial companies. Without discounts in advertising rates, they will soon find themselves unable to place ads.

Journalists propose establishing reasonable rates for mass media placement of social service adverts, but advertising revenues are the exclusive source of income for most. Under current conditions, therefore, television companies, newspapers and magazines cannot provide NGOs significant discounts for their social service announcements, even if they they are aimed at advancing public policy objectives, such as improving national health standards.

Liliya Ismanova, head of a women's rights social organisation, stated that placement rates for social and commercial advertising were usually the same, making it impossible for many social organisations to communicate via the mass media.

Alexander Kulinksy, chairman of the commission that examines complaints against the mass media, believes new laws on social advertising should be developed, tp take into account the interests and budget realities of all parties, including the mass media, a considerable challenge in Kyrgyzstan.

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