Introduction

  • The Advertising Standards Advisory (ASA) was established in 1977 to provide independent scrutiny of the then newly created self-regulatory system set up by the industry.
  • The chief tasks are to promote and enforce high ethical standards in advertisements. To investigate complaints, to identify and resolve problems, to ensure that the system operates in the public interest and to act as a channel for communications with those who have an interest in advertising standards.
  • The constituent members of ASA are:
    - Malaysian Advertisers Association
    - Association of Accredited Advertising Agents, Malaysia
    - Malaysian Newspaper Publishers Association
    - Media Specialists Association
    - Outdoor Advertising Association of Malaysia
  • The interest of the consumer is at the heart of the advertising business – brands succeed or fail on the basis of consumer trust and confidence being translated into purchasing decisions.
  • Some advertisers set out to defraud, offend or mislead the public. They rarely succeed. When they do, it is to the detriment of advertising as a whole, because it compromises its credibility and is inequitable to the companies and practitioners who painstakingly verify their claims or refrain from causing offence as a means of merely attracting attention.


Malaysia Code of Advertising Practise

  • All practitioners of advertising are required to abide by the Malaysian Code of Advertising Practice.
  • The Code was launched by our first Prime Minister, the late Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj.
  • The Code contains principles describing the essence of good advertising.
    1. All advertisements should be legal, decent, honest and truthful.
    2. Advertisements must project the Malaysian culture and identity, reflect the multi-racial character of the population and advocate the philosophy of RUKUN NEGARA.
    3. Advertisements must not identify or typecast each particular racial group or sex with vocations, traditional values and backgrounds.
    4. Advertisements must comply in every respect with the Law, common or statute.
    1. All advertisements should be prepared with a sense of responsibility to consumers and to society.
    2. All advertisements should conform to the principles of fair competition as generally accepted in business.
    3. No advertisements shall bring advertising into disrepute or reduce confidence in advertising as a service to the industry and to the public.
    4. Advertisements must be clearly distinguishable as such.
  • The Code contains general guidelines relevant to all advertisements as well as rules for specific sectors such as medicinal and related products and advertisements containing health claims, children and young people etc.
  • The Code and the self regulatory procedure that exists to administer it, are designed to work within to complement existing regulations


The Administration of the System

  • Advertisers and promoters bear principal responsibility for the advertisements and promotions they produce and must be able to prove the truth of their claims to ASA: they have a duty to make their claims fair and honest and to avoid causing offence. Advertising agencies have an obligation to create advertisements that are accurate, ethical and do not mislead or offend. Publishers and media owners recognize that they should disseminate only those advertisements that conform to the Code. They accept the rulings of ASA Committee as binding.
  • Claims that are judged by the ASA Committee to be offensive or that are not or cannot be verified, will be deemed to be contrary to the Code. Everyone responsible for commissioning, preparing, placing and publishing an advertisement or promotion containing such claims will be asked to act promptly to amend or withdraw it.


The Law

  • The Code, and the self-regulatory framework that exists to administer them, were designed and have been developed to work within and to complement these legal controls. They provide an alternative, and in some instances, the only means of resolving disputes about advertisements. They also stimulate the adoption of high standards of practice in areas as taste and decency that are extremely difficult to judge in law but that fundamentally affect consumer confidence in advertising.
  • The Code require advertisers to ensure that all their advertisements are legal, but ASA is not a law enforcement body.


Sanctions

  • A number of sanctions exists to counteract advertisements that conflict with the Code: the media may deny access to space or time; adverse publicity may result; recognition may be revoked by the advertiser’s/agencies professional association.


How Self Regulation Helps

  • In an age where the focus is on development and promotion of the industry, and less on control, self regulation in the advertising industry is not only cost effective, fast and flexible but also keeps pace with new developments.
  • Compliance is assured through placing the onus on advertisers to provide substantiation and through consensus seek to ensure continued levels of consumer protection in spirit and the letter.
  • As competitors in a free market are always alert, selfinterest will ensure the integrity of all advertising messages to meet the confidence placed in them by consumers and in the process ensure a high level of compliance.


Public Participation

  • In order for self regulation to be effective, public conscientiousness in making complaints and following up as well as being involved in the complaint administration procedure is an essential and indispensable requirement.

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