Marketing & advertising

ICC releases statement on freedom of commercial communication

  • 20 November 2015
ICC Telecommunications

A new International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) statement warns that excessive regulation in the field of advertising and commercial communications could hinder trade and hamper economic growth and development.

The new ICC statement urges governments to reject general advertising bans and overly prescriptive restrictions on truthful commercial communications, in favour of self-regulatory practices.

Issued today, the ICC policy statement addresses continuing threat of bans on advertising and promotion of legal products and restrictions on freedom of commercial communication. in favour of self-regulatory practices.

Brent Sanders, Chair of the commission and Assistant General Counsel, Microsoft Corporation said: “This statement presents the views of global business on the freedom of commercial communication and expands on the discussion of the rights of advertisers. It outlines the responsibilities accepted by business and supports the argument for continued self-regulation through ICC codes.”

The Consolidated ICC Code of Advertising and Marketing Communications Practice (the ICC Code), is the gold standard for most nationally applied self-regulation around the world.

The newly revised ICC policy statement on freedom of commercial communication outlines ICC Code principles related to freedom of commercial communication and self-regulation, and recognizes business responsibility to consumers in providing decent, honest and truthful commercial communication. It aims to underscore that freedom of advertising and of commercial speech, underpinned by effective self-regulation, are cornerstones of the market economy.

“Latin America has seen a proliferation of proposals or enacted laws to restrict food and beverage marketing and this statement from ICC is most timely as business concern mounts with threats continuing to extend globally,” said Ximena Tapias Delporte, Vice-chair of the ICC Commission on Marketing and Advertising and Executive Chairman of the Colombian Union of Advertising Companies.

In the statement, ICC upholds that products that can be legally manufactured and marketed should be legal to advertise in line with free market media and communication laws, taking into account the interests of the public and the common good.

ICC has served as the authoritative rule-setter for international advertising since the 1930s, when the first ICC Code on advertising practice was issued. Since then, it has updated and expanded the ICC self-regulatory framework where needed to assist companies in marketing their products responsibly and to help self-regulators apply the rules consistently.

Download the ICC Policy Statement on Freedom of Commercial Communications

ICC Commission Marketing and Advertising

Download the Consolidated ICC Code of Advertising and Marketing Communications Practice