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Cambodia issues new rules of requirements for commercial advertising
Cambodia issued a new Sub-Decree on the Management of Commercial Advertising of Products and Services, on the 4th of November, 2022.
The aim of this decree is to ensure that advertisers comply with advertising regulations, advertise ethically and legally, and avoid deceiving or misleading consumers. The sub-decree regulates both traditional advertising (e.g., print, broadcast, display, etc.) and digital forms (e.g., social media, online, mobile, etc.).
The Ministry of Commerce will now be responsible for issuing certificates of advertising compliance and monitoring and assessing the compliance of advertisements.
What are the key issues addressed by the decree?
The sub-decree addresses a wide variety of issues relating to the advertising of products and services in Cambodia. The key areas are as follows:
The sub-decree has now made it mandatory for advertisements relating to products and services to comply with the new rules contained within the sub-decree, any existing regulations (unless they contradict the sub-decree), and future regulations.
Therefore, if certain regulations require a license for advertising, this should be obtained from the relevant authorities.
Different types of Advertisements
Under this new sub-decree, advertising has been divided into two types:
- advertisements with rewards and;
- advertisement without rewards.
Rewards have been defined as including souvenirs, lucky draws, and other rewards that will be awarded to the purchaser of the products and services.
Forms of Advertisement
Forms of advertising include the following:
- Advertising via audiovisual media such as TV, electronic broadcasting media (including both satellite and cable TV), and so on;
- Electronic advertising, such as websites, e-mail, electronic messages (in written, voice, or image form), ringtones, social networks, computer applications, and advertisements displayed on a phone or other smart device, or other internet-browsing software;
- Print advertising such as newspapers, magazines, and bulletins;
- Advertising via audio broadcasting, including radio broadcasting of any kind;
- Advertising via equipment for storing any kind of audio and video, including CD, VCD, DVD, DVD, 3D/4D/5D movies, videos, or animations, and other cultural programs;
- Advertising via stage performances such as concerts, art, and entertainment;
- Display advertising on LCD screens, billboards, information boards, wallpaper, banners, posters, and other materials;
- Advertising via discount sales, special discount sales, warehouse clearance sales, and fixed-price sales;
- Advertising on the packaging of goods;
- Advertising in a transportation center or on transportation vehicles;
- Advertising in a meeting, workshop, training session, or press conference;
- Advertising via a public display of product samples;
- Advertising in educational institutions, sports centers, health institutions, religious institutions, business centers, and entertainment, banking, and industrial establishments; and
- Advertising in public.
The sub-decree also states that advertisement text will include anything that includes any words, content, video, animations, or any other idioms intended to advertise products and services.
Notably, the definition specifically refers to “any meaning,” e-mails in text or voice, songs and folk songs, poems, chants, comedy, ringtones, short videos, 3D/4D/5D animation, or other idioms intended to advertise the supply of products and services.
Obligations for Advertisements with Rewards
Under the sub-decree, should any company offer rewards as part of their advertisement campaign, they are required to do the following:
- Confirm the total amount of products that come with the reward;
- Specify the type and amount of each reward and the total amount of rewards;
- Specify the validity of the reward;
- Provide clear information on the location for providing or obtaining a reward;
- Provide documents or information on the identity of winners on a monthly and annual basis (presumably to the authorities).
- Certificate of Advertising Compliance
Certificates of advertising compliance can be applied before advertising products or services are released to the public. The CCF will decide whether the application has been successful within five working days of receiving the application. The certificate of advertising compliance will be valid for the length of the advertisement (but it will not exceed one year).
The certificate of advertising compliance can be renewed 30 days before its expiration date.
As per the sub-decree, any advertisement of products and services must be in the Khmer language, except for:
(1) trademarks or tradenames that are in a foreign language and cannot be replaced by Khmer language,
(2) books, websites, and products published in print that have been approved for publishing in Khmer and English, and
(3) radio and television broadcasting in Khmer and foreign languages.
If an advertising campaign includes text in both Khmer and English (or another language), the Khmer script must be twice the size of the foreign script and placed above the foreign script.
The sub-decree has also prohibited the following:
- Revealing state secrets, endangering national independence, national defense, national security, the economy, international relations, or social security and order;
- Adversely affecting the country’s honor or national dignity, the national flag, a national symbol, the national anthem, religious institutions, the monarchy, national and international organizations, national heroes, leaders, and the country’s or any individual’s reputation;
- Adversely affecting historical values, ethics, culture, customs, national traditions, beliefs, and religion.
- Expressing racism or discrimination based on color, sex, language, beliefs, religion, political tendencies, national origin, social status, resources, or disability;
- Encouraging children to think, act, speak, or behave contrary to custom, tradition, and morality, adversely affecting their health, safety, or natural development;
- Forcing other people to advertise against their will;
- Hiring someone to lie about receiving a reward or benefit from goods and services;
- Using someone else’s content and text without their permission;
- Comparing goods and services with the intention of degrading or affecting the products and services of other individuals;
- Using words such as “best”, “number one”, “superior”, “unparalleled” or words with similar meanings without documents supporting this, and confirmed by relevant authorities;
- Adversely affecting users’ health and safety;
- Violating other relevant provisions in force.
- Advertising products and services that are prohibited by other relevant authorities and affect public safety, traffic safety, and social order.
- Additionally, advertisements must not be deceitful, deceptive, or misleading, regardless of the type, form, and means of the advertisement.
What are the penalties for breaching these new regulations?
Advertisements that are found to violate these provisions may be subject to the following penalties:
- Written warnings;
- Suspension, revocation, or cancellation of advertising license or certificate of compliance of advertising; and
- Suspension, revocation, or cancellation of business registration certificate, license, or business license for service business.
- Relevant ministries, institutions, and authorities may take further action against such violations such as halting, removing, and confiscating advertisements.
How can Belaws help?
If you need more information about advertising in Cambodia, you can talk directly with one of our experts.
Please note that this article is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.
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