Bangkok – On Wednesday, January 10, Move Forward Party (MFP) MP Thaophiphob Limchitrakorn brought forth a significant proposal to amend the Alcohol Control Act, specifically focusing on the regulations governing alcohol product advertising. The parliamentary meeting scrutinized three versions of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Act, with Thaophiphob’s draft being one of them, alongside two public sector drafts.
Thaophiphob presented a nuanced discussion during the session, particularly shedding light on the first draft, labeled as Article 32, which aimed at tightening existing regulations. This version suggested a prohibition on the use of logos resembling those of alcoholic beverages on non-alcoholic products such as soft drinks and water. The intention was clear: to prevent confusion arising from similar logos on different beverage categories.
The Bangkok MFP MP elaborated on this proposal, emphasizing that if enacted, this amendment would restrict brands of non-alcoholic beverages from using logos resembling those associated with alcoholic beverages, like the iconic Chang or Singha logos. Such a move would impact the ability of these brands to advertise or sponsor events if their logos were deemed similar to those used in alcoholic product branding.
Acknowledging the concerns of ordinary individuals, Thaophiphob presented a second draft aimed at a more balanced approach. This alternative suggested permitting advertising within reasonable limits, acknowledging that individuals should have the freedom to share or promote beer on social media without facing exorbitant fines or imprisonment.
The second draft also addressed the issue of selling alcohol during specific periods in Thailand. Thaophiphob argued against restrictions on selling hours, citing examples from other countries where such measures did not necessarily control alcohol consumption but could contribute to increased consumption and drunkenness.
While the parliamentary meeting did not broach the topic of lifting alcohol sales bans on religious holidays, the session witnessed a significant shift in sentiment among members of Parliament. A majority, with 257 in favor, 156 against, and seven abstentions, expressed a collective interest in relaxing the strictness of alcoholic beverage control. Consequently, the draft Alcohol Control Act will be sent back to the Cabinet for further consideration within 60 days before returning for another parliamentary vote.
Although in the proposal stage, these developments signal a positive stride towards potential changes in advertising regulations for alcohol and a reconsideration of certain alcohol sales restrictions.