Thailand moves to curb misleading advertising with MoU

A new Memorandum of Understanding between five government agencies in Thailand seeks to clean up advertising in the food, drug and telecommunications industry.  The agreement follows studies by the government which have suggested that as much as 80% of advertising in some of these industries is in some way misleading or unrealistic and aims to facilitate faster and more effective co-operation between government agencies to address such issues.

Not yet made public in its entirety, the MOU was signed at the end of February and brings together the Office of The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (“NBTC”), the Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”), the Office of the Consumer Protection Board, the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society and the Royal Thai Police in an attempt to protect consumers from misleading advertising of food products, medicines and supplements and telecommunications services.  Among its provisions, the MOU is understood to make clear that the NBTC’s powers extent to the online environment and media reports already suggest that over 800 advertisements have been flagged, while the FDA is reported to have noted over 500 websites providing incorrect or misleading information to consumers. 

With the National Legislative Assembly also approving a Personal Data Protection Bill last month, the Thai government is demonstrably increasing its focus on protecting the rights of individual consumers.  We expect that this MoU will be a further tool to support the work already done by Thai authorities in the area of product communications and brand protection.