By THE NATION
“The rumour clearly intends to cause public panic and undermine the work of the Office of the Alcohol Control Committee, the Department of Disease Control and the Public Health Ministry,” said Chuwit Jantharot, a coordinator at the network. “The rumour also distorts the intention of the Alcohol Control Act BE 2551, which aims to protect people’s health and reduce new drinkers. It has sparked misunderstanding and hatred among people towards the law.”
Chuwit said that during the Covid-19 crisis, there had been evidence of alcoholic beverage producers trying to promote their products via online channels, with tie-in advertising to boost sales.
“Alcoholic beverages are a factor that worsens the Covid-19 situation,” he said. “Drinkers will have lowered immunity against the virus while drinking itself promotes public gathering, which increases the risk of the virus spreading, as we can see from a cluster of cases generated from bars and pubs in Bangkok.”
Alcohol Watch Network coordinator Kamron Chudecha said that posting the word “beer” or displaying photos of beer containers (bottles, glasses, mugs or cans) in which the brand cannot be made out is not in violation of the alcohol-control law.
“The law only aims to prevent the advertising of alcoholic beverages on media platforms,” he added. “If the poster has no commercial intention, he/she cannot be fined.”
Kamron added that “commercial intention” includes promoting the beverage’s characteristics (taste, effects) and persuading the public – either directly or indirectly – to drink.