No booze ads in Scotland? 

17 June 2008

Here’s an interesting one. The Guardian are reporting that the Scottish Government are consulting about a possible ban of alcohol related TV ads before the 9pm watershed. It’s a question that has been raised nationwide, but so far discounted.

So that leaves an interesting question of how Scotland could run a different set of advertising rules for TV in the first place given almost all TV stations are broadcast to the whole of the United Kingdom. Only ITV1, Channel 4 and Five actually have the ability to show different adverts to different parts of the UK after all.

Would a potential ban force all broadcasters in the UK who broadcast in the UK to either ban ads nationwide, have a split feed for Scotland and elsewhere or even simply black out their broadcasts in Scotland rather than put up with the hassle?

Alternatively, a ban could be restricted to just be to those broadcasters who are based in Scotland rather than targeting the country – in which case the whole thing would just be a half-baked and pointless proposal that wouldn’t solve anything given that the impressionable youth would just see the adverts on other channels anyway.

Of course some simple thought quickly shows that the whole thing is a none starter – it’s simply not practical. It’s not even an area that the Scottish Government really could legislate on – the Scottish Government could try and wrangle it as a Health related issue, but ultimately broadcasting is a reserved matter and the power that rests in Westminster and not Edinburgh. So if the chances of it happening are nil, one wonders what the point is in even consulting on it…

A member of the Transdiffusion Broadcasting System
Liverpool, Monday 5 December 2022