Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Desmond gets into trouble again

News from the MediaGuardian and Roy Greenslade that Richard Desmond has been up to no good. Again.

This time, it's the Advertising Standards Authority who have slapped down the Daily Express for:

running favourable features about goods advertised on the same page in the paper.

Hmm. And it's not just a one off either. The ASA has noted not one, not two, but three examples of it. Greenslade reports that when interviewed on the Today programme about it, ASA chief executive Guy Parker called it:

'a relatively extreme example'.

Here's some of the choice quotes from the ASA's ruling:

The ASA noted that the articles were always and uniquely favourable to the product featured in the accompanying ad and contained claims that have been or would be likely to be prohibited in advertisements...

We considered that by using that approach, the publisher and advertiser were intentionally attempting to circumvent the Code by asserting the top of the pages were not advertising...

We concluded that the routine publication of these pages and the nature of the articles strongly suggested a commercial arrangement existed between the newspaper and the advertiser and that the advertiser exerted a sufficient degree of control over the content of the articles to warrant the term "Advertisement feature" or the like being placed above the articles.

So yet another example that Desmond isn't fit to be running one newspaper, let alone four.

And it's interesting to note that the rulings refer to the ASA Monitoring Team. This suggests something pro-active, the regulator is looking for transgressions and acting when it finds them. If the ASA can do that with the newspapers, why can't the newspaper regulator, the PCC?

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