ICC Underscores Importance of Freedom of Commercial Communication

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A new International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) statement urging governments to reject general advertising bans and overly prescriptive restrictions on truthful commercial communications, in favor of self-regulatory practices, warns that excessive regulation in the field of advertising and commercial communications could hinder trade and hamper economic growth and development.

Issued on November 24, the ICC policy statement addresses continuing threat of bans on advertising and promotion of legal products and restrictions on freedom of commercial communication in favor of self-regulatory practices.

“This statement presents the views of global business on the freedom of commercial communication and expands on the discussion of the rights of advertisers,” said Brent Sanders (Microsoft), chair of the ICC commission and of USCIB’s Marketing and Advertising Committee. “It outlines the responsibilities accepted by business and supports the argument for continued self-regulation through ICC codes.”

ICC’s Commission on Marketing and Advertising will hold its nextg meeting on December 7 in New York. The Consolidated ICC Code of Advertising and Marketing Communications Practice (the ICC Code), is the gold standard for most nationally applied self-regulation around the world.

The newly revised ICC policy statement on freedom of commercial communication outlines ICC Code principles related to freedom of commercial communication and self-regulation, and recognizes business responsibility to consumers in providing decent, honest and truthful commercial communication. It aims to underscore that freedom of advertising and of commercial speech, underpinned by effective self-regulation, are cornerstones of the market economy.

“Latin America has seen a proliferation of proposals or enacted laws to restrict food and beverage marketing and this statement from ICC is most timely as business concern mounts with threats continuing to extend globally,” said Ximena Tapias Delporte, vice chair of the ICC Commission on Marketing and Advertising and executive chairman of the Colombian Union of Advertising Companies.

In the statement, ICC upholds that products that can be legally manufactured and marketed should be legal to advertise in line with free market media and communication laws, taking into account the interests of the public and the common good.

ICC has served as the authoritative rule-setter for international advertising since the 1930s, when the first ICC Code on advertising practice was issued. Since then, it has updated and expanded the ICC self-regulatory framework where needed to assist companies in marketing their products responsibly and to help self-regulators apply the rules consistently.

Download the ICC Policy Statement on Freedom of Commercial Communications

Download the Consolidated ICC Code of Advertising and Marketing Communications Practice

Staff Contact:   Kira Yevtukhova

Deputy Director, Marketing and Communications
Tel: 202.617.3160

Kira Yevtukhova manages USCIB’s print and online publications, including the website, e-newsletter and quarterly magazine, and serves as the organization’s digital media strategist. Prior to this role, Kira worked for over five years within USCIB’s Policy Department, focusing on climate change, environment, nutrition, health, and chemicals related policy issues. She is a graduate of Mount Holyoke College and is currently pursuing an MBA at Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business.
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