A leading researcher on the harm caused by alcohol says the role social networking sites have in promoting a drinking culture to young people is a major problem that needs to be urgently addressed.Says Radio NZ.
Sally Casswell from Massey University was speaking at a Politics of Alcohol conference in Wellington on Wednesday.
Professor Casswell says these type of issues should be covered by Government and inter-government regulation.
She says this is a classic area where there is no control over the accountability of trans-national companies in relation to alcohol.
It would be awfully interesting to see the specific policy proposals that would come from this approach. Are we to ban Facebook pictures showing folks drinking? Ban people from "Liking" things alcohol-related?
I follow a dozen or so NZ craft brewers on Twitter. Would Casswell expropriate their Twitter accounts? Require folks be 18+ to follow?
I'd love to see just how far the neo-prohibitionists are prepared to push against freedom of speech and freedom of association.
Oddly enough, I didn't get an invitation to their little shin-dig.
Update: I totally don't believe them on this one:
The conference will include a major session on tobacco reform to examine whether there are lessons that can be learned from this history for achieving successful alcohol law reform.Do remember that, when the anti-tobacco folks started out, their only goal was to stop folks from smoking in airplanes and closed-in public places. Not to ban all smoking. Then we got mandatory provision of non-smoking sections in restaurants. Then bans on smoking in workplaces. Then complete bans in bars and restaurants. And now they're aiming at a smoke-free NZ by 2025. If they're citing tobacco as a strategy to follow - and note that anti-alcohol has been moving to the anti-tobacco playbook not just here but internationally - do worry about slippery slopes.
“Both Labour and National-led governments have led change in terms of tobacco reform in New Zealand and need to be congratulated for creating a better country because of their willingness to take on the tobacco industry” said Professor Jennie Connor, another medical spokesperson for Alcohol Action NZ.
“Although the end-game is different for alcohol compared to the smokefree strategy for tobacco – an end to heavy drinking rather than an end to drinking itself - the means by which harmful heavy drinking can be reduced have been demonstrated to be the same as for tobacco” she said.