TAC Electronic Newsletter

7 September 2005


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Third TAC Congress

Cape Town

23-25 September 2005

Build Women and People with HIV/AIDS Leadership for a People's Health Service

Letter from TAC Deputy-Chairperson requesting messages of support

Dear All

The Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) will be hosting its 3rd National Congress in Cape Town on 23-25 September 2005.

It is now two years after the Operational Plan for Comprehensive HIV/AIDS Care, Management and Treatment for South Africa was adopted by Cabinet in November 2003. This congress will therefore ask the questions:

TAC has used its resources and time to assist the implementation of the treatment programme. We continues to engage sectors of government who recognize that treatment will not succeed without the meaningful participation of communities.

TAC has called for at least 200,000 people on treatment by end of March 2006 if the treatment plan is to make the difference it was intended for. The Congress will discuss the implications of this target and what is required to achieve it.

The chosen theme for this Congress is Build Women and People with HIV/AIDS Leadership for a People's Health Service. To move forward, the organization must develop strong women leadership because  women and people living with HIV/AIDS are key to the success of the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS.

The Congress will open with a rally on the evening of Friday 23 September and it is here that we would like to display or read out messages of support from organisations and individuals. If you or your organisation wish to send a message of support please send it electronically to molly@tac.org.za by no later then 15 September. Please send this message to other organisations you think may be interested in participating.

Your support, as always, is appreciated.

Yours faithfully,

Sipho Mthathi


Ruling of ASASA on TAC's request for sanctions against Matthias Rath

Dr Rath Health Foundation / TAC & Another / 1861
Ruling of the : Advertising Standards Committee
In the matter between:
Treatment Action Campaign & Another Appellant
Dr Rath Health Foundation Africa Respondent

24 Aug 2005

At a meeting held on 13 July 2005, the Advertising Standards Authority Committee (“the Committee”) considered a request for sanctions arising from the Directorate finding of 12 May 2005 that the respondent was in breach of a Directorate ruling of 9 March 2005.

In light of the issue before the Committee, the following clauses of the Code are relevant:

• Clause 14 of the Procedural Guide – Sanctions

• Clause 15 of the Procedural Guide – Enforcement of Rulings

The complainant was represented by Nathan Geffen, Head of Research and Communications, TAC; Linda Mafu, National Organiser, TAC and Dr David Spencer, Southern Africa HIV Clinicians Society and Jonathan Berger. The respondent was not represented.

The complainant made comprehensive submissions as requested by the ASA on sanctions on 14 March 2005, 16 May 2005, 18 May 2005 and at the hearing of this matter.

The complainant submits that the respondent continues to breach the previous ruling of the Directorate. These breaches have occurred, and continue to occur, on the respondent’s website, pamphlets distributed in the Western Cape, pamphlets distributed in Cape Town, pamphlets distributed in Khayelitsha, advertisements in “The Mercury”, “New York Times”, “International Herald Tribune”, “The Namibian”, a booklet distributed in the Western Cape, and in the respondent’s interviews or media appearances on both print and electronic media.

The complainant expressed concern that the respondent might circumvent present and future rulings of the ASA by continuing to place the same or similar advertisements through its agents and supporting groups, such as:

• Dr Rath Health Foundation, Africa

• Cellular Life

• Better Life

• Dr Rath Health Foods, Africa (Pty) Ltd

• Dr Rath’s Health Programmes, Africa (Pty) Ltd

• Allied groupings such as the Treatment Information Group, Traditional Healers’ Organization and the South African National Civics Organization (SANCO)

The complainant submits further that besides being a flagrant disregard of the Directorate’s ruling, the respondent’s advertisements are reckless in the extreme, considering that they make unsubstantiated claims on a matter affecting hundreds of thousands of people living with HIV/AIDS. The respondent’s marketing campaign misleads and causes great confusion among people facing a life-threatening epidemic, creating a volatile atmosphere of misinformation and incorrect medical decisions.

Despite the respondent being requested to make submissions on sanctions in the Directorate’s ruling of 9 March 2005 and 12 May 2005, and in notices to the respondent dated 17 March 2005, 17 May 2005 and 19 May 2005, the respondent has failed to make any submissions.

Having considered all the submissions made by the complainant, and the nature of the material produced by the respondent in breach of the Directorate’s previous rulings, the Committee imposes the following sanctions:

1. a sanction in terms of Clause 14.3 of the Procedural Guide. The respondent is to submit all future advertising to the ACA Advisory Service, at the cost of the respondent, prior to publication thereof. In light of the gravity of the breaches, this sanction is imposed for a period of twelve months from date of this ruling. The application of the factors set out in Clause 14.3.3 of the Procedural Guide justify the severity of the sanction.

2. a sanction in terms of Clause 14.4 of the Procedural Guide being that the respondent shall:

* Publish a summarised version of the ruling (“the adverse publicity statement”).

* The adverse publicity statement will be drafted by the Directorate and provided to the parties. It is to be read as if specifically included herein.

* The adverse publicity statement must appear once in each South African publication in which the respondent has, to the knowledge of the Committee, placed an advertisement in breach of the original ruling, being The Sowetan, The City Vision and The Mercury.

* The statements must be A4 size and must appear in the main section of the newspapers.

* The cost of such publication will be for the respondent.

* The ASA will place the advertisement, and the placement costs will be charged and paid at the normal rates charged by the publication for the placement of advertisements.
This ruling applies to the respondent (Dr Rath Health Foundation Africa), and all its agents or allied organizations. The ruling of the Directorate that the claims by the respondent must be withdrawn, applies to all forms of media.