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Government denies rumours of fines for online alcohol-related pics

Jack Burton

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Despite recent reports, the Office of the Alcohol Control Committee is dismissing a rumour about individuals being fined for posting images of alcoholic drinks on social media. The rumour went viral, with some saying individuals can be fined to up to 50,000 baht for posting images of alcoholic beverages online, or up to 10 times that amount if they’re manufacturers.

2 writers claim they were slapped with 50,000 baht fines for posting photos of craft beer. But the director of the OACC, under the Department of Disease Control, says these are just baseless rumours.

It all began when Facebook group Phoo Borropoek (We Can Choose) warned members that a netizen was fined 50,000 baht last month for posting an image of an alcoholic beverage. The netizen claimed a letter was sent to his address along with personal details. He also claimed he was told to give a statement to law enforcement officials, but did not give details of the alleged uploaded image.

Regardless, the rumour went viral and an online petition campaign was mounted to pressure the Ministry of Public Health to amend Section 32 of the 2008 Alcoholic Beverage Control Act. According to the law, drinks may not be advertised in a way that directly or indirectly claims benefits or promotes their consumption. The law also states the advertising may not show the product or its packaging.

But the OACC says people who post images of alcoholic drinks and their logos to reflect their lifestyle don’t have worry.

“Individuals who simply post an image of a glass of alcohol with the logo are not violating Section 32.”

The director says that celebrities and entertainers are treated differently, and will be charged for violating Section 32.

“These celebrities have a lot of fans. What they do can influence people directly or indirectly to become interested in what these celebrities consume.”

He also admitted that online advertisements for alcohol products increased during the Covid-19 lockdown.

“Some sellers don’t have a store to sell alcoholic drinks, so these companies and traders turned to the internet as a channel to sell alcohol.”

From March to May, when the sale of alcohol was banned, the OACC received 174 complaints regarding alcohol ads online. The complaints were lodged with the Tobacco and Alcohol Surveillance System online.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

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