Advertising in all non-broadcast media such as newspapers, magazines, posters (and also direct mail, sales promotions, cinema, and management of lists and databases) is regulated by the Advertising Standards Authority, an independent body funded by a levy on display advertising expenditure. The Authority aims to promote and enforce the highest standards of advertising in the interests of the public through its supervision of the British Code of Advertising Practise. The basic principles of the Code are to ensure that advertisements: • Are legal, decent, honest and truthful; • Are prepared with a sense of responsibility to the consumer and society; and • Conform to the principles of fair competition as generally accepted in business. The Authority includes among its activities monitoring advertisements to ensure their compliance with the Code and investigating complaints received directly from members of the public and competitors. The advertising industry has agreed to abide by the Code and to back it up with effective sanctions. Free and confidential pre-publication advice is offered to assist publishers, agencies and advertisers. The Authority’s main sanction is the recommendation that advertisements considered to be in breach of the Code should not be published. This is normally sufficient to ensure that an advertisement is withdrawn or amended. The Authority also publishes monthly reports on the results of its investigations, naming the companies involved. The Authority is recognised by the Office of Fair Trading as being the established means of controlling non-broadcast advertising. The Authority can refer misleading advertisements to the Director General of Fair Trading, who has the power to seek an injunction to prevent their publication.
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