Half of HCMC's outdoor billboards unauthorized

By Thu Hang   November 28, 2022 | 07:44 pm PT
Half of HCMC's outdoor billboards unauthorized
An advertisement billboard in HCMC's District 5. Photo obtained by VnExpress
About half of more than 1,500 outdoor advertisement billboards in HCMC are unlicensed, the municipal Department of Culture and Sports says.

At a Monday meeting with the Ho Chi Minh City People's Council on the management of advertisement activities, the department said the city has around 1,515 outdoor billboards. However, 747 of them were in places not approved for the purpose.

Some locations approved by local authorities and the Department of Transport to hang billboards for garnering political support were used for other, unapproved advertisements.

Over the last 10 years, the culture department has issued fines of VND22 billion ($887,812) in over 2,100 cases of outdoor advertisement violations.

Violations include messages written in only foreign languages and placing billboards in unapproved places, the department said.

Cao Thanh Binh, head of the culture and society department of the legislative People's Council, said the Law on Advertising has been in effect since 2012, but HCMC has yet to approve its plan for outdoor advertisements, which is a roadblock for businesses wanting to promote their products.

Studies have shown that the evaluation process for approval is not good enough, resulting in several violations. A major reason for this is overlapping responsibilities between ministries, departments and localities, he said.

Nguyen Trong Nam, deputy director of the culture department, said that conflicting regulations make it difficult for localities, ministries and localities to coordinate work regarding advertisements.

For example, while the Law on Advertising and the Law on Construction do not allow erecting advertisement billboards within the road traffic safety corridors, the Law on Road Traffic allows their temporary construction for six months.

Making a similar point, Lam Dinh Thang, director of municipal Department of Information and Communication, said while one resolution says outdoor advertisements fall within the responsibility of the culture and sport department, with most LED screens for advertisements connected to the Internet, they would fall within the responsibility of the information and communications department.

All the overlapping leads to a "gap" in the proper management of outdoor advertisements, Thang said.

HCMC currently has over 9,200 LED screens for advertisements installed on apartment complexes, skyscrapers and malls. Most of them are concentrated in locations like Thu Duc City, District 1 and District 7.

Duong Anh Duc, deputy chairman of the municipal People’s Committee, said the city was completing documents regarding the planning of advertisement displays, which would set out specific management responsibilities for localities.

HCMC aims for its advertising industry to contribute 2.6% of the city's GRDP by 2025 and 3.2% by 2030. In 2020, the city's advertising industry contributed 1.8% of its GRDP.

Nguyen Thi Le, chairwoman of the municipal People's Council, said authorities should work on a plan to generate income from advertisements that can add to budget revenues. She suggested auctioning the rights to use locations for outdoor advertisements to ensure transparency and fairness in awarding them for businesses to exploit.

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