New law limits advertising

Pham Thi Thanh Huyen,  Associate

The new Law on Advertising, passed by the National Assembly last June, takes effect on January 1, replacing the 2001 Ordinance on Advertising and subsequent regulations.

Under the new law, which includes general mandates on truth in advertising, the Government has the right to set out additional requirements on the contents of advertisements applicable to goods and services which have a direct affect on the health of human beings and the environment.

Like the 2001 Ordinance, the Law on Advertising requires advertising to be in Vietnamese, except for trademarks, slogans, commercial names or proper nouns in foreign languages or words which have become internationally known and which cannot be translated into Vietnamese; advertisements in books, websites, newspapers or printed matter licensed to be published in the languages of ethnic minorities or in foreign languages; and broadcasts in the languages of ethnic minorities or in foreign languages.

Where an advertisement is bilingual, the size of the text of the foreign language must not be larger than three-fouths of the size of the Vietnamese text and must be placed beneath the Vietnamese text. In visual or audio-visual media, the Vietnamese language must be displayed or broadcast first, followed by the foreign language.

In printed newspapers, the area covered by advertisements must not exceed 15 per cent of the total area of one issue of a newspaper or 20 per cent of one issue of a magazine, except in specialised advertising supplements.

In broadcasts, advertisements must not exceed 10 per cent of the transmission time on any radio or television channel in any given day, except for specific advertising channels or programmes. The duration of advertising on a paid channel must not exceed 5 per cent of the total duration of a programming broadcast on a given day. It is prohibited to advertise more than twice in excess of five minutes during any film programme or more than four times in excess of five minutes during an entertainment programme. Additional provisions apply to advertising on websites or by email.

As with the 2001 Ordinance, the Law on Advertising specifies conditions for advertisers. An advertiser must have a business registration certificate authorising it to advertise goods or services.

For such advertisements, there must be documents evidencing the compliance of the goods or services with standards or technical regulations as stipulated by law, including specific conditions applicable to medicines, medical equipment, cosmetics, chemicals, pest control preparations, nutritional products for infants, health services and food products.

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