10 March 2008

ANCYL seeks to ban liquor advertising in South Africa

Ban alcohol advertising - ANCYL

A newspaper report reveals that the ANCYL sees liquor advertising as a problem [1]. The league proposes the ban of liquor advertising, and they also propose the ban of liquor sales on Sundays, just like we had during apartheid. As reported, the ANCYL sees a correlation between the advertising of alcohol and the moral degeneration of South Africa.

There claims are curious and riddled with loaded assumptions. I was curious to find out exactly how many people have been harmed as a direct result of advertising and liquor advertising in particular. Fortunately, I managed to track down a profile of fatal injuries in South Africa for 2005 [2].

Since an organisation with such a proud tradition as the ANCYL is sure to base its discussions on actual topics garnered from sound evidence, I was shocked not to find a single death attributed to advertising. Not even a case where a roadside billboard fell on someone. However, I did learn other interesting facts from this document.

The most common cause of non-natural fatalities in South Africa is homicide, followed by transport. In 2005, transport related fatalities accounted for 35,5% of non-natural fatalities. By contrast, fatalities attributed to non-transport incidents were on the decline, with the exception of homicide. It is not clear whether culpable homicide is included in the homicide fatality statistic or the transport related fatality statistic.

Since there is a correlation between transport and fatality that far outweighs the statistically non-existent correlation between advertising and fatality, it would perhaps be wiser to ban the use of transport on certain days. The 2005 figures reveal that Saturdays are the days with the most transport related fatalities.

Curiously, Saturdays are also the days with the most homicides. The implication is there is a correlation between homicide and transport. Fuzzy logic dictates that transport makes people homicidal, especially over weekends.

In the absence of any statistic implicating the advertising of liquor in fatality, my questions are thus:

  • Homicides and the dangers of transport besides, how does the ANCYL determine that South Africa is in a state of moral degeneration when non-transport and non-homicidal fatalities are clearly in decline?

  • What credible evidence does the ANCYL have to implicate the advertising of liquor in fatalities when it is clear that cars are more dangerous than liquor (or any other kind of) advertising?

  • The ANCYL poll regarding the sale and use of liquor on Sundays shows an undecided result, with 50% voting yes and 50% voting no [3]. Note that the advertising of liquor and the sale of liquor are two different issues entirely. Nonetheless, with such an indifferent response from within its own ranks, how did the ANCYL determine that the sale or use of liquor on Sundays are pressing issues?

  • Weekends are clearly the most fatal, with homicide and transport being the biggest causes of fatalities during these times. Is the ANCYL considering banning the use of transport on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays?

Clearly transport, unlike the voluntary exposure to advertising, is a significant contributor to non-natural fatalities. Transport, not advertising, is the culprit. As transport is implicated in correlating with homicide, our society should rid itself of transport.

Since advertising is not statistically implicated in anything, let alone as a contributor to fatality, perhaps we should accept advertising as a producer practicing his fundamental right of freedom of expression.


  1. Ban liquor advertising - ANCL at IOL.co.za

  2. A report of fatal injuries in South Africa during 2005

  3. ANCYL poll results

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