So, as we have seen over the last few years, politicians have been skirting around the issue; they have been prodding here and there to gauge how much outrage any one approach will take. They have tried to control it on the basis of quality, but people realise that they aren't forced to visit sites; they have tried whipping up a kiddie porn frenzy, but too many people think that looking at pictures is not actually the same as raping a physical child (and besides, most people know that finding real kiddie porn is pretty difficult); they have tried to convince people that those writing anonymous websites might be trying to deceive punters, but users just didn't care; even the standard default of its use by those eeeeeevil brown terrorists doesn't seem to have worked.
Now, via The Englishman, they are attempting control through leveraging their bete noir de jour: alcohol.
Controls on alcohol advertising should be extended to the internet as part of the drive against under-age drinking, a conference in Edinburgh will be told next week.
Jack Law, chief executive of Alcohol Focus Scotland, claims alcohol is being actively promoted on social networking sites like Facebook. And he will tell a conference organised by the Advertising Standards Authority at Dynamic Earth on Monday that these websites represent a challenge to the current system of regulating alcohol advertising.
Unfortunately, Alcohol Focus Scotland is registered under the Scottish Charities Commission which, unlike its England and Wales counterpart, does not carry detailed accounts. However, the website does inform me that I am entitled to gain the information from the charity itself.
Charity Accounts and Constitutions
OSCR does not publish this information on the website. The public have the right to the following information under s.23 (1) (a) and (b) of the Charities and Trustee Investment (Scotland) Act 2005 from the charity directly:
- a copy of the charity's latest statement of account
- a copy of the charity's constitution.
Please contact the charity directly to request this information.
Naturally, I have done so. Why? Because whenever a so-called charity supports a government initiative, you can almost always find that they rely on substantial state funding; I like to verify this fact as often as I possibly can.*
In the meantime, please rest assured that, should there appear to be enough support for this, the government will start legislation to restrict alcohol advertising on the 'net initially, and then whatever else takes their fancy. You have been warned.
* Alcohol Focus Scotland is one of those organisations that my colleague, The Filthy Smoker, would be somewhat incensed at for they are punting the "all alcohol is evil when pregnant" malarkey.
As more research is published about drinking alcohol during pregnancy, Alcohol Focus Scotland launches a new campaign - 'Alcohol and pregnancy don't mix'.
The aim of the campaign is to raise awareness of the 'avoid alcohol when pregnant' message among women who are pregnant, are thinking of trying for a baby, and among the wider population who may encourage women to have a drink without understanding the possible harm.
We are concerned that women have been given conflicting advice about whether or not drinking alcohol during pregnancy will cause harm to their developing baby. There is proven risk that heavy drinking during pregnancy can lead to Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) however the exact level for risky consumption is unknown. What we do know is that the risk of damage increases the more alcohol is consumed and that binge drinking is especially harmful. This means that no alcohol is the best and safest choice.
Except, of course, when no alcohol isn't the best and safest choice. Like when... well... a study shows that drinking a small amount during pregnancy can be actively good for your child.
Research involving more than 12,000 children showed that mothers who drank lightly during pregnancy – defined as one to two units, or a single drink a week – did not increase the risk of having babies with mental impairment or behavioural problems.
Rather, children born to light drinkers were found to be less likely to have problems and peformed better in some tests compared with offspring of mothers who did not drink at all.
As my colleague remarked, the study is not conclusive (but then few are, as it happens). And it would be nice, nevertheless, if all of these charities, think-tanks and special-interest medical organisations would do us all a favour and shut the fuck up.
Especially when they are funded with money stolen from us, as I fully expect to find is the case with Alcohol Awareness Scotland...