Thailand’s strict rules regarding the advertisement of alcoholic beverages has been thrust into the spotlight again after a Facebook user by the name of ผู้บริโภค said he was fined 50,000 baht for posting a picture online.
The laws regarding alcohol advertising across Thailand were initially designed to restrict companies from selling alcoholic beverages.
However, the widespread use of social media had put the public at risk of violating the rules even if they have no intention to distribute or sell the items.
The Facebook user who fell foul of the laws was sent an official letter in May containing his national ID number and exact details about where he needed to give a statement about the incident.
He proceeded to talk to officials and acknowledged the charge. Officials then informed him that he could pay a 50,000 baht fine on the spot or go to court.
The laws regarding adverting alcohol are laid out in Section 32 of the 2008 Alcoholic Beverage Control Act. The act features a long list of prohibited actions, including:
- Posting a photo of an alcoholic drink with the brand name visible
- Posting a picture of a bottle that can be easily identified with a brand
- Encouraging people to drink alcohol or posting photos of properties of drinks
- Urging people to taste alcohol or showing appreciation for an alcoholic beverage
- Posting a picture of a branded beer glass
- Writing news or translating news about alcoholic beverages that are not available in Thailand
- Posting photos of drinks that are not available in Thailand while traveling
- Posting anything with the logo or trademark of an alcoholic beverage on it
- Posts are not time-restricted, and authorities can charge people for posts made at any time if they are still visible
Since reopening after the covid-19 lockdown restrictions have been lifted, 400 restaurant owners have been summoned by officials for advertising their menus online, which feature alcoholic beverages.
A representative of the owners, Supapong Pruenglampu, referenced one of the cases where an owner was called by officials for describing an alcoholic beverage as “well-known,” saying:
“Officials say the word is an exaggeration, and the law gives them too much leeway in exercising their discretion. This, as well as a large fine, prevents small operators from competing with large ones.”
The punishment for breaking these laws is a fine not exceeding 500,000 baht and/or one year in prison, in addition to a daily fine of 50,000 baht until the issue is fixed.
Source: Bangkok Post