ASA rules on ‘uncomfortable’ medical advertising

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ASALogoMessages that promote sexual health should not be withdrawn simply because they do not sit well with parents. The Times reports that this is according to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), which has ruled that an advertisement promoting male circumcision should not be taken off air because it makes parents uncomfortable.

The report says the ruling follows a complaint by Nosipho Kala‚ who said the commercial was aired during family time and that parents should not be made to explain to young children what circumcision is. The advert features a conversation between three men‚ the amount of time taken to recuperate from circumcision and the overall convenience of the procedure.

The Centre for Communication Impact‚ the respondent in the matter‚ argued that it was conducting a campaign on behalf of the department of health‚ which advocates for boys to be circumcised from the age of 10. The organisation said it was therefore appropriate to air the advert at a time when children are watching television. The advert‚ according to the organisation‚ does not refer to the sexual health benefits of circumcision‚ and the focus is on the management of the pain and healing.

The report says the ASA dismissed Kala’s complaint‚ saying the commercial does not make mention of sex or show any explicit body parts. “… when circumcision is promoted responsibly‚ without the use of overt sexual innuendo‚ graphic imagery or inappropriate language‚ it would not likely cause harm to children‚” the ASA found.

“The directorate has accepted that the social context of poor sexual habits‚ and irresponsible behaviour‚ messages that encourage messages of public importance with regards to sexual health should not be withdrawn merely because they might sit uncomfortably with some parents.”

The Times report

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