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There’s no sense in FDA’s alcohol endorsement ban on celebrities – Nacee

Gospel musician Nacee expressed his disagreement with the Food and Drugs Authority’s decision to prohibit Ghanaian celebrities from endorsing alcoholic products, deeming it nonsensical.

During an appearance on United Showbiz on Saturday, November 18, 2023, Nacee raised questions about the disparity that allows foreign personalities to promote such products while imposing restrictions on local celebrities.

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Nacee, who serves as both a musician and a music producer, underscored the point that even if less-known individuals are granted the opportunity to advertise, they could eventually gain celebrity status.

Therefore, he argued, the ban on celebrities would be ineffective in the long run.

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“A continued posting of images and videos of people makes them popular. Nobody knew Michael Power until Guinness kept pushing his commercials,” he said. “If we feature an ordinary person in ads and keep promoting the said ads, they will rise to become popular in a couple of months so much so that they may not be able to buy food from the roadside.”

Nacee continued: “It is surprising that we won’t let our local celebrities advertise but our foreign counterparts are allowed to. It is good to regulate whatever we do, but it should not be discriminatory. We love foreigners more than ourselves; it doesn’t make sense. Let’s stop starving ourselves while giving foreigners juicy deals.”

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In 2015, the FDA implemented a ban on Ghanaian celebrities endorsing alcoholic beverages, citing compliance with a World Health Organisation policy. The regulatory authority emphasised that the decision was part of ongoing initiatives to safeguard children and deter them from being enticed into alcohol consumption.

Despite facing criticism and appeals for a reconsideration of the policy, Kofi Essel, the Head of Industry Support Services Department at the FDA, stated in an interview that the organization is unable to lift the ban on well-known figures endorsing alcoholic beverages.

“Well-known persons have the potential to influence their followers who are not legally permitted to possess alcohol or use alcohol,” he argued. “In view of that, guidelines have been set to guide the operations of alcoholic beverage companies, including the advertisement of their products and this is the reason well-known persons are not allowed to endorse the products.”

Court case

Mark Darlington Osae, the artist manager of Reggie ‘N’ Bollie and Skrewfaze, has taken legal action against the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Attorney General Godfred Yeboah Dame over the prohibition on celebrities endorsing alcohol-related products.

Osae filed a writ of summons on November 11, 2022, asserting that the FDA’s 2015 guidelines are unjust to the creative arts sector.

His central argument revolves around what he claims is an inconsistency and violation of articles 17(1) and 17(2) of the 1992 Constitution.

These articles guarantee equality before the law and prohibit discrimination based on factors such as social or economic status and occupation.

“No well-known individual or professional may be used in advertising for alcoholic beverages; this is against the 1992 Constitution’s provisions 17(1) and 17 (2).

“Articles 17(1) and 17 (2) of the 1992 Constitution guarantee quality before the law and prohibit discrimination against persons on grounds of social or economic status, occupation, among others, and consequently are null, void, and unenforceable,” Osae argued.

On November 15, 2023, the case was adjourned until January 17, 2024.

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