Celebrities who defy ban on alcoholic advertisement face GHc25,000 fine – FDA

imagesThe Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) has warned that it will fine celebrities who defy its ban on advertising for alcoholic beverages.

The authority said any celebrity who defies the directive, which is to prevent these celebrities from influencing people under 18 years, will face sanctions of GHc25,000.

Earlier this week, there were reports that the FDA had banned popular TV and radio presenter Kwame Dzokoto from starring in any alcoholic beverage advert.

The radio personality is quoted to have said: “I must tell you I have been banned by the Food and Drugs Board not to do any liquor advertisement again”.

James Lartey, the Head of Public Relations at the FDA speaking in an interview with Joy News’ Beatrice Adu said the rationale behind the ban is to prevent these celebrities from influencing children with the alcoholic beverages.

The ban, he said, is within their guidelines and the law permits them to enforce guidelines that make sure celebrities that attract the attention of children do not do advertisements for alcoholic beverages.

Mr Lartey noted that they are not targeting all celebrities. “We are talking about celebrities that have the potential of winning the heart of children. So if for-instance it’s a celebrity who is more inclined to adults, we don’t have a problem but when it comes to children under 18 years if you are a celebrity and there is the potential of attracting them [children] that is where we have an issue.”

Asked how they will determine which celebrity appeals to children and which does not, he said it is easy to make that differentiation because there are some celebrities who, through their work, are only appealing to adults.

“There are some popular pastors in this country they are celebrities, they are well known, when you mention their name, everybody knows them but they don’t attract children,” the FDA PRO explained.

“When you pick somebody like Kwame Dzokoto, you realise that this is a gentleman when he acts children want to act the way he is acting. They just like him. Such a person if he does alcohol advertisement the possibility of children following what he is doing is very great and they are the people that we are saying that we don’t want them to be used as models in advertisement for alcohol.”

Asked if Kwame Dzokoto has been banned, Mr Lartey said, “We have not banned him, we have banned celebrities who have the potential of attracting children under 18 years so if he falls within that line fine but not him in particular.”

He noted that, this is not the first time the FDA is acting on this and that companies that come to their offices with requests to use such celebrities are always warned.

The FDA, he said, is now going the full throttle in enforcing the law and if any celebrity breaks the law that celebrity will be handed over to the police or “secondly there is something we call an administrative fine which the law permits us and that is for you to be fined an amount of GHc25,000.”