Norwegians sceptical as alcohol ads draw near

Norwegians sceptical as alcohol ads draw near
Photo: Sara Johannessen/Scanpix (File)
With the government indicating it won’t veto a controversial EU directive, a majority of Norwegians believe alcohol ads on television will lead to more widespread alcohol abuse.

In a survey conducted by newspaper Nationen, 55.4 percent of respondents said they expected the introduction of alcohol advertising to exacerbate alcohol-related problems.

By contrast, 41.3 percent of those surveyed said they did not believe there to be a link between television adverts and increased alcoholism.

As a member of the European Economic Area, Norway is obliged to implement an EU directive that will allow Norwegian-language channels based abroad to show adverts for alcoholic drinks, effectively ending the country’s 36-year ban on televised alcohol adverts.

But despite vocal political and public opposition, the red-green coalition government has said it will not seek an exemption from the European Union directive.

According to Nationen’s survey, city and rural dwellers have differing opinions as to the projected consequences of the move.

In Oslo, and other towns with more than 50,000 inhabitants, opinion is split down the middle.

In smaller towns and in the countryside, however, as many as 60 percent of respondents expect the lifting of the advertising ban to fuel a rise in alcohol abuse.

“It appears the differences in opinion have to do with both culture and ideological standpoint,” said Reidar Almås, a professor at the Centre for Rural Research.

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