A couple of weeks ago, I posted a blog item and wrote a newspaper column on the Johnnie Walker sign on the Baiyoke II Tower. Drinking is one of the scourges of Thai society, and here is this huge sign urging its viewers to "drink don't drive," as if one were a substitute for the other. How gratifying it is, then, to see students take collective action on this issue. Go students!
Firm urged to remove billboard
Bangkok Post, 19 Sept 2006
A network of teenagers against alcohol-drinking has called on a leading liquor company to remove its ''drink-don't-drive'' billboard from one of the city's landmark buildings, saying it is just an advertisement in disguise. More than 200 students who are members of the network rallied at Sri Ayutthaya School to ask parties concerned to remove the billboard from the Baiyoke II Tower building.
The network said the billboard is in breach of a cabinet resolution which prohibits alcohol advertisements near educational places. The building is located only 283 metres away from the nearest school, it said.
The resolution bans all forms of alcohol advertisement within 500m of the nearest place of education.
''The advertisement can be seen from every corner of the city. In fact, it is just an advertisement strategy to encourage alcohol-drinking,'' said Panuwat Promta, the network's representative in Bangkok.
Mr Panuwat said he believed the commercial would encourage more people, especially teenagers, to drink.
Otherwise, the company would not pay up to 800,000 baht a month to have it erected atop the tallest building in Bangkok, he added.
Nopporn Ploywilert, 16, a network representative from Phetchabun province, said alcohol commercials should be banned from all kinds of media, so as to prevent young people from being tempted into drinking.
Tanyarat Petchkomol, a student from Nakhon Si Thammarat, said the network was encouraging teachers to stop drinking alcohol so they would set an example for youngsters.
Alcoholic drinks of all kinds should not be a part of any celebration, he said, adding that children under 18 also should not be made to serve alcoholic drinks to adults at social functions.
Meanwhile Narong Sahamethapat, deputy chief of the Disease Control Department, said the cabinet resolution banning alcohol advertisement did not empower the authority to punish the liquor company or the building owner for having the billboard put up atop the Baiyoke Tower.
However, relevant authorities are due to meet tomorrow to discuss a ban on tobacco and alcohol advertisement in all forms of media tomorrow, he said. Currently, alcohol advertisements on television are only allowed after 10pm.