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TV, Radio Told to Stop Exaggerated Commercials
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Television and radio stations in China could be banned from broadcasting all advertisements if they air forbidden commercials for breast enhancements, weight loss and medical products.

The State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) and the State Administration of Industry and Commerce (SAIC) made their position clear on Monday at a joint press briefing after they issued a ban targeting misleading TV and radio commercials.

In some commercials for breast enhancements, weight loss and medical products the advertisers   exaggerated the results of treatment provided using experts and past patients to show the "magic effects" achieved, according to the ban which took effect from yesterday.

Zhao Jian, deputy director of SAIC's advertising supervision department, said the problem was currently "very serious" and had harmed consumers' legitimate rights and interests. "Misleading commercials have also affected the social credibility of radio and television," he said.

Ren Qian, deputy director of SARFT's broadcasting affairs supervision department, said if TV or radio stations were found violating the ban three times within two months they'd be temporarily banned from showing all commercials.

However, from midnight to 3 AM yesterday, at least 13 provincial TV stations were still showing such commercials, according to a Beijing Evening News report.

Among them, Jilin and Tianjin TV stations, were broadcasting commercials on medical products and hospitals which contained information on instant communication between doctors and patients as well as the medical institutions' contact details. These two practices are covered by the ban.

The report said some TV stations were showing commercials on drugs for men to increase sexual ability which could be misleading but had not been clearly banned.

In response SARFT said they'd keep a close eye on violations. The public could report any concerns by dialing 010-86091111. SAIC said they would also be scrutinizing print media and websites.

"If we find any similar commercials in the print media or on websites we'll work out relevant regulations with the General Administration of Press and Publication," said Qu Jianmin, director of SAIC's advertising supervision department.

Large TV shopping companies, such as Acorn International and Shanghai Seven Star TV Shopping Company, welcomed the ban.

"We'll suffer a loss of about 20 per cent in business and a large number of small companies may face closure," said Cui Yuxin, chief marketing officer of Seven Star. "But the policy will better regulate the market and benefit the industry in the long run."

(China Daily August 2, 2006)

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