A Legal Answer to Lobbyists’ Manipulation of Draft Law № 2971-D, Concerning the Advertisement of Beer

May 27, 2016

Lawyers of the Media Law Institute prepared a legal opinion on the effects of individual provisions of Draft Law 2971-D, which concerns the return of beer advertisements on television and radio. This caused a number of members of parliament to attempt to manipulate the law “On Advertisement”under the pretext of bringing the law into compliance with the provisions of the European Convention on Transfrontier Television. It seems that there have been backdoor meetings between MPs and lobbyists of the draft law, who are not only trying to mislead their own colleagues but also journalists and Ukrainians.

The position on disabling advertisement and sponsorship of beer under Article 22 of the law “On Advertisement” has been manipulated under the pretext of creating legislation in compliance with the European Convention onTransfrontier Television (from here on referred to as the Convention), which was ratified by Ukraine on 17 December 2008. The Convention does not specifically establish any provisions concerning the advertisement of beer: Its restrictions apply to any and all advertisement of alcoholic beverages equally.

And so, in Ukraine,under the pretext of compliance with the Convention these manipulations would unreasonably exclude beer from a number of restrictions concerning alcohol advertisements, including bans on:

  • providing any advertising information, disseminated through text and/or audio, about sponsors and producers of alcoholic beverages, and names and/or trademarks for goods and services that are owned by the sponsor.
  • broadcasting on radio and television from 6:00 until 23:00; 
  • portraying the consumption of alcoholic beverages; 
  • placing advertisements closer than 300 meters from the line of sight from the territory of pre-schools, secondary schools and other educational institutions in which students up to the age of 18 study.
  • including the image of doctors and other medical professionals, and people whose images mimic those of doctors.
  • Imparting the impression that a majority of people indulge in alcoholic beverages.


At the same time, along with the prevention of advertisements for malt beer and requirements concerning restrictions and  bans on advertisements on television and radio, beer can be advertised without complying with other requirements that are unrelated to the Convention. In particular, the proposed wording ofSection 10 of Article 22 of the law “On Advertisements”that refers to advertising, trademarks for goods and services, and all other objects of intellectual property law, was formed so that the production of beer would NOT be subject to the rules for banning advertisements, which are:

  • on the first and last pages of newspapers, on the covers of magazines and other publications, in all publications for children and adolescents, on pages for children and adolescents in all printed publications.
  • in all printed mass media (except for special publications);
  • with the help of promotional events (except for special exhibitions of alcoholic beverages); 
  • on the exteriors and interiors of vehicles and public transportation.
  • on internal and external facilities


Finally, television advertisements for beer will NOT require a warning saying “Excessive consumption of alcohol is harmful to your health” which would be alloted 15 % of the advertising space.

It should be noted that in general the European Convention onTransfrontier Televisionregulates relations with transfrontier broadcasting, in particular providing that states that are parties to it ensure the freedom of speech and do not restrict the retransmission of program services on their own territories, given that they meet the conditions of the Convention. At the same time, Article 28 of the Convention clearly and unambiguously provides that none of its terms prevent parties from applying stricter or more detailed laws to transmitted program services than those already provided, and these laws fall under the jurisdiction of the state. In short, the Convention does not directly regulate relations of the broadcasting activities of national television and radio channels.

Furthermore, similar strict restrictions apply for foreign programs that are re-broadcasted on our territory, and since the ratification of the ConventionUkraine has reserved the right to limit the re-broadcasting of programs on our territory that show advertisements that in any way do not comply with national legislation.

As we reported earlier, on 24 March 2016  members of the community, doctors, psychologists, and famous designers discussed the unacceptable return of advertisements for alcohol, such as beer, on radio and television as well as in places where alcohol is sold.