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News / July 20, 2009

Junk food advertising ban to boost dental health

by Guy Hiscott

The advertising of sugary foods that are high in salt and fat to children could soon be banned from Irish television screens.

Last week Communications Minister Eamon Ryan TD announced that President McAleese has signed into law the Broadcasting Act 2009, the most comprehensive legislation governing broadcasting in almost 50 years.

The Broadcasting Act changes the nature of regulation in Ireland. It allows for the establishment of a new single broadcasting regulator, the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI), for both RTÉ and the independent broadcasting sector. The BAI will be established by 31 September.

The BAI will place restrictions on broadcasters in terms of children’s advertising, with a new Code governing advertising for foods high in fat, salt and sugar.

‘This is a modernising piece of legislation designed to meet the needs of the viewer and the sector as we enter a new era of broadcasting,’ said Minister Ryan. ‘There are real innovations in this Act, many I have long argued for and I am personally proud they will be implemented. The new rules on advertising and implementing a right of reply, will serve to protect the viewer and the listener.’

Green Party Health spokesperson Senator Deirdre de Burca has welcomed the Broadcasting Act 2009.

Senator de Burca said: ‘The Green Party has long been concerned that advertising so-called ‘junk’ foods to children has a long-term detrimental effect on their health. I’m delighted that Green Party Minister Eamon Ryan has ensured that the Broadcasting Act 2009 allows for the new Broadcasting Association of Ireland to place restrictions on broadcasters in terms of children’s advertising.

‘This measure will go a long way in helping to prevent the pressure on parents to buy foods that are high in fat, salt and sugar.’

See Minister Ryan’s comments on the Broadcasting Act 2009 at YouTube.

The Broadcasting Act 2009 is  available on the Oireachtas website at