With the National Assembly scheduled to discuss the draft of the Law on Advertisement today, insiders are hoping that some changes will be made to loosen the tightened regulations currently imposed on the industry.
Advertisement experts said the draft law has many positive points compared to the current law that took effect in 2002.
For instance, Article No 22 in the bill stipulates that news agencies can publish advertisement inserts through their initiatives, and are only required to inform the authorities of the publication 30 days in advance.
The bill also sets no limit on the number of ad pages a news agency is allowed to publish, which an expert said is “a significant untying to the print media.”
Currently, media agencies are required to apply for a license in order to publish ads inserts, and relicense whenever they want to adjust the number of ad pages, according to a chief of the ad department at a HCM City-based newspaper.
In addition, the number of inserts is not allowed to exceed the number of pages in that newspaper, he added.
“The Inspectorate often counts the exceeding pages to impose fines on the newspapers.
“For quite a long time, such regulations have extremely hindered the news agencies in financial terms.”
According to Do Kim Dung, deputy chair of the Vietnam Advertisement Association, businesses have to go through a multilayer administrative procedure in order to have their ads published, which wastes a huge amount of time and expense.
The procedure is an “ask – agree” scheme, in which tSTC with power can spontaneously accept or reject the applications of the businesses, he said.
“For instance, when a small billboard of around 1 sqm located near Ben Thanh market can cost up to $200,000, it is inevitable that the price of the product being advertised will overrun,” said Dung.
“The Law on Advertisement should simplify all procedures as much as possible.”
A representative of a major newspaper in HCM City said that although the advertisement regulations do not stipulate that businesses must seek approval for the content of their ads from authorities, many pharmaceutical, nutritious products and agricultural material manufacturers have in fact had to do so.
Specifically, tSTC manufacturers have had to submit their ad content to the Drug Administration of Vietnam, or the Vietnam Food Administration for approval, while their products have already acquired all necessary quality certificates.
“Businesses are concerned that this will continue to happen during the implementation of the new ad law,” the representative said.
For his part, an ad expert suggested that the new law should remove the limit on expense earmarked for advertisement.
Expenses for ads are currently restricted to 10 percent of the total expenses of a business, which the expert said is no longer appropriate with the current business environment, nor in accordance with international custom.