Activity 12

ACTIVITY 12

This section seeks to conduct a stakeholder analysis of a communication policy prohibiting the advertising of tobacco products on radio and television. Such a policy has been in effect since 2003, with the passage of Republic Act 9211 or the Tobacco Control Act.

The ban on tobacco advertising on mass media was upheld in a 2012 Court of Appeals decision, which allowed the advertising of such products on “points of sale.”

In the following document, the author seeks to conduct a brief communications policy analysis to determine if such a policy merits continuing implementation. It would also touch on the later campaign for a policy that sought to include graphic images in packaging of tobacco products.

ACTIVITY 12.1

There are various stakeholders involved in the policy banning the advertisement of tobacco on television and radio. Their deemed interests on the issue are as follows:

  1. Defined as the most powerful stakeholder in communication policy, the national government – particularly the Department of Health – has played an important role in pushing for the policy that controlled the advertising of tobacco in mass media. In addition to mere campaigning, it is the government, through the legislative branch, that passed the law that eventually set the policy in stone.
  2. The education sector is deemed as among the major stakeholders in communication policy. Research, however, showed that – as stated by Ongkiko & Flor (2003), it appeared to be least involved. This is also evident in graphic images campaign, as members of the academe who appeared to be actively involved are those who are also in the field of medicine (i.e. professors from the UP-PGH such as Dr. Anthony Leachon).
  3. The church, while generally effective in pushing for communication policy in the country, appears to be less involved in policies involving the ban on tobacco advertisement in radio and television.
  4. The media has a direct interest in the policy that will ban advertisements of tobacco products in television and radio. Next to the tobacco companies, it is the media industry – particularly the television and radio station – that suffered from the implementation of such a policy.
  5. Private sector. This sector, particularly those that have interests in the tobacco industry, understandably worked hard to lobby against the proposal to ban television and radio advertisements of tobacco products. After all, it was this industry that suffered the biggest blow, since the sales of cigarettes and other similar products was affected by the policy.
  6. On the other end of the scale, meanwhile, are the different consumer groups that worked hard to push for the passage of the policy that will ban the advertising of tobacco products in radio and television. Working hand-in-hand with the government – particularly the Department of Health and the numerous advocates of the law in Congress – the consumers were able to convince the policy makers the need for such a law.

ACTIVITY 12.2

The communication technology assessment, according to Ongkiko & Flor (2003), is conducted before the adoption of the new technology or the communication policy. “In fact, the decision to adopt or not depends on the findings of the assessment,” they added.

However, the author saw it fit to conduct such an assessment to the policy banning the advertising of tobacco products on television and radio to see if its continuing implementation is still beneficial for the country and the Filipino people.

In an article published in Interaksyon in 2013, Emer Rojas of the NewVois Association of the Philippines – an anti-tobacco organization – noted that Filipino children are still exposed to tobacco advertisements even with the passage of the law that imposed a marketing ban on such products.

Rojas called for the total ban, as the exposure come from the existence of advertisements on “points of sale”, which was allowed by the Court of Appeals in its 2012 decision.

From this, we can gleam that the problem – the continuing exposure of the Filipino youth to advertisements – does not stem from the problems in the implementation of the existing law, but with the loopholes that were created because of the appellate court decision.

Thus, it can be deduced that the communication policy is not defective and still merits continuing implementation. However, in order to achieve its ideal goal – to remove the exposure of children in advertising – there is a need to pass additional policies or measures, such as the total ban on advertising.

On the positive side, the continuing implementation of the policy, coupled with new measures that will effectively ban all kinds of advertising, would be socially beneficial as it would remove the exposure of children to such products. Time and again, it has been proven that smoking of tobacco products results in numerous illnesses, such as lung cancer.

On the negative aspect, however, such a policy will continue to affect the livelihood of the local tobacco farmers, as well as the tobacco companies operating in the country.

ACTIVITY 12.3

The two sub-sections above have already outlined the stakeholders and the policy analysis of the ban on television and radio advertisement of tobacco products. This section, therefore, will be solely limited to the recommendations of the author.

Based on the short analysis conducted on the subject policy, the author recommends its continuing implementation and the passage of subsequent measures that will support the objectives of the original policy – to minimize the exposure of the public, particularly the youth, to tobacco products.

On the issue of tobacco farmers who will be affected by such measures, the author recommends the institution of various projects that will provide them with an alternative livelihood.

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