ASA: We don't want govt regulating advertising

ASA chief executive Gail Schimmel says while ordinary individuals can lodge their complaints with ASA, without adequate funding the government may end up being the regulator of ads.

Seminar on ethics in advertising, marketing and branding hosted by the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation at the Institute for Advanced Journalism on 25 July, 2017. Picture: Masa Kekana/EWN

JOHANNESBURG – The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) says it fears the industry could end up being regulated by the government due to financial strain.

The Ahmed Kathrada Foundation is hosting a series of seminars on reporting on race, with the first seminar held on Tuesday at the Institute for Advanced Journalism.

The foundation says that the information received from role players will be presented at a bigger conference in October and shared with all media practitioners as a guide when reporting on race issues.

Several brands have found themselves under fire for racist ads. The ASA, which regulates the industry, says it’s received a reduced number of complaints but this is due to financial problems.

Its CEO, Gail Schimmel, says the body was funded by the industry itself but that has dwindled.

“We’ve done an enormous amount of retrenchments. We’ve given up two-thirds of our premises.”

She says while ordinary individuals can lodge their complaints with ASA, without adequate funding the government may end up being the regulator of ads.

“We don’t know what the government will do, but the feeling in the industry is that we don’t want the government regulating advertising. Also as ASA, we make quick decisions, decisions made by people who understand advertising.”

The Kathrada Foundation says the tool kit it hopes will be created from the seminars, will assist all stakeholders in the media space.