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Government Lifts Advertising Restrictions

Posted September. 30, 2005 08:12,   


Starting the second half of next year at earliest, lawyers will be able to advertise their businesses freely without restriction on numbers and total outlay.

As of now, their advertisements have been confined to office opening announcements due to strict regulations imposed on by the Korea Bar Association.

Restrictions on comparative advertising will also be lifted, allowing businesses such as cosmetics, water purifiers and medical supplies for animals that had been prohibited from doing so to freely compare their products with other suppliers. However, restrictions on advertisements quoting unverified data or only favorable information to advertiser will remain effective.

These are some of the measures to rationalize regulations on advertisements and signboards announced on September 29 by the Office for Government Policy Coordination. The government will flesh out detailed implementation measures by the end of this year and will put them into practice starting the second half of next year after consulting the authorities concerned.

According to the new regulations, pharmacies will be granted the discretion to decide what information to put on their signboards as long as it does not cause confusion to consumers. Other than the trade name and phone number that are currently permitted, they will now be allowed to put their website domain, the year they opened, and other information.

Restaurant owners can advertise health benefits of the food they serve as far as it does not mislead customers into believing the dish is a functional food with some medical effects. The current food sanitation law prohibits restaurants from posting advertisement that explain the virtues of their food.

The government also reduced pre-deliberation on TV commercials to a minimum. Except commercials for drinks and medical supplies, post deliberation will be made mandatory for other ads. The current broadcasting law clearly states post deliberation as a principle, but subordinate regulations allow wide range of pre-deliberation, making virtually all commercials undergo pre-deliberation by the Korea Broadcasting Commission.

Hyung-June Park lovesong@donga.com