Aussie ad industry's self-regulation scheme under fire

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SYDNEY -- The Federal Government's Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is planning to review the advertising industry's self-regulatory complaints system. The move follows its controversial decision last week to dismantle the media accreditation of agencies scheme by next February.

Under the current complaints system, the Advertising Standards Council, a self-regulatory body comprised of industry and consumer groups, handles complaints about ads and determines whether they breach any of its five self- regulatory codes of practice.

The ASC has been constantly criticized by the Australian Association of National Advertisers which wants it replaced by two bodies - an Advertising Claims Board, which would deal with advertiser-to-advertiser complaints, and an Advertising Standards Board, which would deal with complaints from consumers and others.

Under tha AANA's plan, complainants would pay to have their views heard and the main sanction would be publication of decisions, rather than a media boycott of the ads.

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