Extension to ASA remit to include commercial websites is 'imminent'

ASA: remit set to be extended
ASA: remit set to be extended

LONDON - Changes to the remit of the Advertising Standards Authority to include advertising messages on commercial websites are 'imminent', following recommendations published in a Home Office-commissioned report today.

Published today (26 February), the independent review into the sexualisation of young people noted that increasingly, media messages are being delivered via the internet, with companies spending millions on developing interactive advertisements on their commercial websites.

Following these findings, author and psychologist, Dr Linda Papadopoulos, said: "I recommend that the government recognises the work being carried out by the Advertising Standards Authority and supports it in taking steps to close this regulatory loophole, by extending the existing standards to include commercial websites."

An ASA spokesman said that the industry body "shares many of the concerns" expressed in the review in general, and added that steps were already well-advanced to address its online remit in particular.

"The industry is in very advanced stages at tackling concerns surrounding the online regulatory gap by extending the ASA's remit online and we welcome that," he said.

"The concerns are being addressed by the Advertising Association and, although no date has been set, changes are imminent."

The ASA was formed in 1962, primarily as a regulatory body for print media. The body's remit was extended to include TV and radio, and create a one-stop shop in partnership with co-regulator Ofcom, in 2004.

The spokesman said: "Everything is changing so incredibly quickly it is important we keep on top of the industry requirements. The remit extension to include online will help do that."

Papadopoulos was commissioned by the Home Office to look primarily at how sexualised images and messages may be affecting the development of children and young people and influencing cultural norms. She also examined the evidence of a link between sexualisation and violence.

Read about other findings from Dr Linda Papadopoulos Home Office sexualisation review here.

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