NBTC urged to curb sexual TV adverts

NBTC urged to curb sexual TV adverts

Too much improper content, says Apinan

This YouTube fertiliser advert is cited by the Minister of Culture in his demand that regulators act against sexy advertising going against Thai culture.
This YouTube fertiliser advert is cited by the Minister of Culture in his demand that regulators act against sexy advertising going against Thai culture.

The Ministry of Culture wants the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) to strengthen regulations on advertising on cable and satellite TV which widely uses sexual imagery to sell products.

Apinan Poshyananda, permanent secretary for culture, told a seminar on sex in advertising on Tuesday that the ministry had received several complaints about inappropriate commercials on cable and satellite television that show women wearing skimpy clothing.

It wants the NBTC to help oversee and control advertising content.

"I plan to meet the NBTC and discuss how to oversee and control the advertising content broadcast on TV," Mr Apinan said.

He said as far as he knows the NBTC has no censorship restrictions on TV commercials on cable and satellite television.

That was why some companies air sexually-charged commercials to gain viewer attention while advertising their products.

"I've seen a fertiliser product advertisement using sexy-looking women even though they have absolutely nothing to do with the product being advertised.

"If we let this kind of ad on TV where it can be seen by children, then I am worried women will still be seen and used as sex objects [in advertising]," Mr Apinan said.

On YouTube, the advert is presented as a "funniest sexy commercial".

In addition to seeking cooperation from the NBTC, Mr Apinan said his ministry wanted to contact the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Ministry to get its help in regulating advertisements on websites, mobile sites and Facebook that use sexual imagery to sell products.

"I understand it's hard to separate creativity and obscenity, but at least advertising agencies and product owners should have social responsibility. Many products, particularly insurance products, are advertised without using sexual imagery," he said.

Ua-jit Virojtrairat, director of the Media Monitoring Project, said sexism in advertising is not limited to portraying women wearing skimpy clothes, but it covers other stereotypes and sets beauty standards for so-called "perfect" men and women.

For example, she said "perfect women" must be skinny, white and big-breasted and "perfect men" must be masculine.

"If the media keeps stereotyping men and women and reproducing unrealistic content for audiences, it can lead to mental health issues because many people who don't have perfect bodies will think that they are not good enough. This can lead to serious issues such as depression and anorexia," she said.

Ms Ua-jit said gender stereotyping in advertising is one of several factors that have a big influence on efforts to build more gender equality. 

When women and men are portrayed in stereotypical ways it can become difficult in other contexts to see women and men's real personalities and abilities, she said.

An-yaorn Panichpungrat, chairwoman of the Creative Media and Family Network, said apart from sexual imagery in advertisements, she was worried many young people share selfie photos in an improper manner with others on social media.

Families must help monitor this kind of sharing closely to stamp out excesses, she said.

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