by Mironshoh Murodullaev Ikrom ugli
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September 18, 2021

There has been no concern in Uzbekistan until the adoption of the new version of the draft law “On Advertising” by the majority of deputies in the first reading of the Legislative Chamber.

The fact that several changes in the new bill, in particular some restrictions or violations in the field of advertising, lead to financial sanctions, is nonsense for the legislation of Uzbekistan in the eyes of most complainants and people concerned.

Although the new version of the law on advertising addresses some issues, it is clear that it will not achieve its goal as an effective practice is almost non-existent. Simultaneously, clear intentions by the drafters to ensure essential public health had better be respected regardless of the presence of errors.

Protection of Childrens’ right

The prohibition of certain products by the children who are not allowed to do consume is stipulated in article 16 of the draft. However, it is natural that the content of this imperative norm is full of inaccuracies. Especially, non-existing of directed imperative norms tend to create a gap in the sense of the legislation.

Specifically, the list of products that are restricted to the consumption of adolescents under the age of 18 to achieve the goal set out in the above norm, unfortunately, is not reflected in the current practical legislation. This article will likely become a “lase” in the future due to the analogy of law. In particular, according to Article 5 (1)(3) of Law on Normative Acts, any future adopted law should be based on the principle of bona fide, protecting both physical and juridical persons rather than being one-sided.

Although the provision in Article 16 appears to have tried to acquire the leading states’ practice that protects children’s rights, it appears to fail. So what does the legislation of developed countries say about this? Take Sweden, for instance, it has solemnly prohibited television advertising aimed at children under the age of 12 in 1991 through certain legal acts. However, Swedish law has developed and put in place mechanisms, such as lists of prohibited products for adolescents, to ensure its enforcement and effectiveness.

In this regard, there is only one way for the Lower Chamber to realize the essence of Article 16: forming a list of products not recommended for people aged under 18 with the favor of specialists and directing supplement it to the draft in question.

It may be argued that drafters only intended to limit to advertise products containing ‘more’ sugar or salt than WHO’s limit. Nonetheless, it is essential to indicate the list informing such products or specific criteria to assess the detriment in question. Thus, although drafters aimed to protect health protection, the inaccuracy leading to the ambiguity would be ineffective only for entrepreneurs, as discussed below

Fatal consequences for confectioneries?

Confectionaries are also at risk, as the draft is also expected to place significant restrictions on advertising foods with high contamination of salt, fat, and sugar. However, the ambiguity in interpreting this norm as to precisely what requirements should be followed repeats Article 16 above.

In order to clarify this situation, – the biggest online media outlet in Uzbekistan, correspondents conducted a study with a specialist concluding that cheese, high-calorie coffee drinks, any daily products with added sugar are at risk of being banned from an advert. Most notably, the disruption in sales of giant corporations such as Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Dena, Rollton, KFC, Crafers, Sherin, Tegen, Nescafe, McCafe, which deal in the above products, will result in a loss of 68% tax revenue to the state budget. This is because 33% of this is collected from the income of legal entities and individuals and 35% from VAT and imported goods. If the inaccuracy is overlooked, the amount of tax income to the state budget will decrease respectively.

However, as stated above, as far as people are unaware of what products containing exceeded amount of sugar or salt, they continue to purchase them. Hence, it is far high from the fatal destiny of such companies, but only growth may slow.

Destiny of television channels

For the most part, provisions in the Draft are directed to TV companies. As a result, the stability of the media market could be severely damaged. Because after such bans, commercial advertising companies start looking for other ways of advertisement. Several private TV channels have been set up and use their separate financial resources rather than the state budget in recent years. Notably, these resources come only from advertising fees paid by commercial companies. The disappearance of such adverts is likely to lead to the end of some popular television programs, which will influence the stabilization of such private TV channels.

There have been several reactions by the interested parties. In particular, the adoption of a new version of the Draft law “On Advertising” in such a manner by the parliament will cause irreparable damage to the overall media market stability of the country according to the report of the Public Fund for Support and Development of Mass Media. According to the chairman of this fund, Kamil Allamjanov, there is a tendency to “kill” the media financially.

Nonetheless, it should not be considered to be detrimental only because Allamjanov possesses a private TV Channel. Rather, the draft would eliminate “predatory” advertisement practice, which irritated the audience with repetitive commercial videos.

One-sided approach

If we pay attention to the draft, it can be realized that it is mainly focused on regulating the advertising practice of television channels. This helps to acknowledge how “transparent” the purpose of the law is. In particular, if various products are banned on television programs, these businesses may advertise their products in other ways, including through bloggers, Internet stars, their official pages, or Internet platforms or video-hosting like YouTube. In turn, only TV channels will be influenced negatively per quod draft. In other words, any expected goal may not be achieved even though TV companies are curbed in the advertisement.

If the parliament aims dignified public protection from the manipulation of various harmful products, it would be expedient to direct these prohibitions not only on TV channels but also on Internet bloggers or multiple platforms like Google or Yandex. However, specific networks such as YouTube or Google do not tend to follow up such normative restrictions. The only way to do that is to block them, but it’s costly. For example, blocking social networks significantly impacts Uzbekistan’s international image, and blocking it can be extremely costly. In particular, the blocking of Instagram for one day costs 779,750 US dollars.

While the Government intends to protect social health from national security, the general public, especially interest-possessed parties, should not consider this to turn the country into North Korea.

Why only restrictions?

An analysis of the new draft shows that changes in advertising legislation are mainly focused on product bans or financial sanctions. However, other objects are being overlooked.

The language style of the ad is one of them. Under French law, all commercial advertisements must be in French, which is understood by the audience. However, if there are only differences about a product, such as its cost nature in some cases, it is forbidden to ignore it by writing its exceptions in small print.

It is highly advised to improve such provisions simultaneously.

Trying to change the image of classic advertising

The concerns of pharmaceutical companies are not inferior to those of other companies. Their anxiousness is not with the product restriction or age-related ban on their products, but with a number of changes to the information in the commercials.

The bill prohibits commenting on the pricing policy of advertised drugs. For example, if a company cannot compete with its competitors by declaring that its products are affordable rather than other similar drugs. However, Japanese law provides for a different rule. In particular, the advertiser may state that the price of their products is affordable, but it is only not allowed to use the word “most” in advertising. According to Bakhshillo Khodjayev, associate professor at Tashkent State University of Law, the ban in the bill violates the principle of “free commercial speech,” which is the main point of advertising law. It moderately restricts the freedom of speech of businesses on their products. Nevertheless, this argument seems to be baseless, as drafters aimed to protect the public interest as the state’s main function. They have a right to restrict any speech right.

A prohibition of the consumers’ appreciation could also be a significant blow to pharmaceutical companies. It’s like not being able to show the audience how positive their drugs have been in practice. In addition, the prohibition of the use of the drug is likely to cause misunderstandings among consumers about the use.

Nonsense approach

As we analyze the bill, we need to focus on another issue. As a result of the fact that the system of fines specified in the Draft Law is directly stated in Article 46 of the law, it is a gross violation of the principle of international law – ne bis in idem – only one penalty for one actus reus. In particular, Article 46 of the Draft law provides for some financial sanctions, while Article 1781 of the Code of Administrative Offenses also provides liability for an advertising rules violation. In this case, if an entity violates the relevant rules, it will be sanctioned under both this law in question and the relevant norms of the Code. This is regarded as a violation of the principle of justice outlined in Article 3 of this Code inter alia the principle of double punishment for idem act. According to lawyer Nuriddin Murodov, the person who developed the bill has a number of shortcomings in the nature of the Roman-German legal system.


According to the abovementioned, the following conclusions can be drawn.

First of all, if a type of product is banned, the list, which is their practical expression, should be drawn up in accordance with the Draft law and supplemented with the draft.

Second, while respecting the principle of equality of law for all, it would be appropriate to focus the law not only on TV channels but also on the Internet inter alia bloggers.

Third, unreasonable restrictions in the law cause significant damage to the financial balance of the channels, which is formed only at the expense of advertising.

Fourth, the negative deterioration of this financial balance will seriously undermine the stability of the media, respectively.

Fifth, the provisions on sanctions, while nonsense to the Uzbek legal system, grossly violate the principle of justice and had better analyze it again.

Cite as: Mironshoh Murodullaev, “Who is harmed by new Draft of advertisement law: aim and solution”, Uzbekistan Law Blog, 18.09.2021.