Queensland Attorney General Jarrod Bleijie has announced that the state Government will review the regulation of outdoor advertising in the state. Collective Shout's Melinda Liszewski appeared at a media conference alongside the Attorney General last week.
In a media release the Attorney General pointed out that unlike other forms of media such as TV and Radio, outdoor advertising is unavoidable and cannot be switched off. Outdoor advertising is seen by everybody, including children. He also said that federal reviews of the regulation of outdoor advertising have not led to significant improvements.
Federal MP Graham Perrett who initiated the 2011 Federal Inquiry into the regulation of billboard and outdoor advertising has thrown his support behind the state government's move, stating that this is an issue he is "passionate about." He is reported as saying that he will raise this issue with Australia's Attorney General Mark Dreyfus.
Collective Shout has been speaking out against Advertising Industry self-regulation for a long time. In a submission to the Federal Inquiry, we argued that industry self-regulation doesn't work and made the following recommendations:
1. Responsibility for regulation should be given to an independent body or authority, with power to establish a system of prevetting billboards before their placement. An independent review system should replace self regulation as a way to assess the suitability of outdoor advertising.
2. The Australian Association of National Advertisers (AANA) code of ethics should be amended to reflect the growing body of research in regard to the sexualisation of children and objectification of women. Objectification and sexualisation of women and girls should be treated as threats to the health, well-being and status of women and girls.
3. The AANA code of ethics should be amended to clearly reflect the fact that unsolicited and unwanted exposure to sexualised and pornified images is a form of sexual harassment.
4. Any regulatory body (the existing or a new body) be required to consult the international research along with child and youth development experts, to ascertain the possible impact of advertising with sexualised content or messaging, on this audience.
You can read our entire submission to the Federal Inquiry here and the final report of the Inquiry "Reclaiming Public Space" here.
Collective Shout is pleased to see the Queensland government take action on this issue and we urge the Federal Government to takes steps to bring about changes nation wide. There is now global evidence documenting the harms of sexualisation, which includes exposure to images of sexual objectification and sexualised messages:
“There is growing evidence that premature exposure to adult sexual images and values has a negative impact on the psychological development of children, particularly on self-esteem, body image and understanding of sexuality and relationships” - Professor Louise Newman, Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists
“There is strong evidence that premature sexualisation is likely to be detrimental to child health and development, particularly in the areas of body image and sexual health,"... “The current self regulatory approach through the Advertising Standards Bureau is failing to protect children from sexualised advertising." - Australian Medical Association President Dr Steve Hambleton.
“…there is evidence that sexualisation contributed to impaired cognitive performance …viewing material that is sexually objectifying can contribute to body dissatisfaction, eating disorders, low self-esteem, depressive affect, and even physical health problems in high-school-aged girls and in young women.” - American Psychological Association, 2007
Thank you to those who have initiated petitions, signed petitions, made complaints to the Ad Standards Board and more. Your voice has made a difference, it is because of you that this is happening. It is because of you that we will continue to see positive changes.
But this is not the time to rest. We need your help to keep the pressure on.
We recently wrote about how the Advertising Standards Board had given the OK for a strip club billboard ad outside a boys school in Brisbane. See it here. Following letters to MPs, thousands of signatures on an online petition and an article in the Courier Mail, the Outdoor Media Association finally removed the billboard and said it would not be back in future.
This is a great outcome and shows that speaking out really does make a difference. But what about other inappropriate advertising in the public space?
Pip and Tanya - the Brisbane residents who created the online petition - have created another outdoor advertising petition to be tabled in Federal Parliament. With the news that Federal MP Graham Perrett is going to raise the issue with the Federal Attorney General, we need to do all that we can to show community support. Your signature and the signatures of your friends, could help bring about legislative change.
Sign it and ask your friends to sign.
Post the petition back to Pip and Tanya by the May 28.
Petitions now need to be received by May 24. Post directly to the office of Teresa Gambaro:
The Hon. Teresa Gambaro MP
PO Box 98
Grange QLD 4051
Do it today! Even if you are the only person to sign the petition, it is still worth sending to us.
Remember, all that has happened so far is because you took the time to speak out. Keep it up and we will see even greater success.