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Czech Republic: film targets still in frame
  1. David Simpson
  1. d.simpson{at}

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    In the Czech Republic, the advertising and promotion of tobacco products, including sponsorship, was banned in 2004. The country has a long and distinguished history of cinema and there are two main film festivals, FF Karlovy Vary and Febiofest (Prague). Philip Morris was for several years the main sponsor of the Karlovy Vary festival. In 2005, instead of being a direct sponsor, Philip Morris helped in other ways, such as bringing VIP guests to the festival and providing accommodation for them. At the end of June 2005, just before the festival, a special issue of a weekly magazine Instinkt was published. The cover page of this issue featured the president of the film festival, Jiri Bartoska, together with a famous film actor, Jiri Machacek, both wreathed in cigarette smoke. Inside, in a picture showing the festival president with another actor, cigarettes again constituted a major element of the image.

    The other film festival, Febiofest, last held in March this year, was sponsored by British American Tobacco (BAT). Since sponsorship using the name of tobacco products is prohibited, BAT instead used its programme Vzdusny Prostor (“Airspace”) to promote the film festival. In fact, what BAT was really promoting, apart from its munificence in sponsoring the festival, was the idea of ventilation as the solution to deal with smoking in restaurants and other indoor spaces, an issue then being widely discussed in the Czech Republic. BAT’s advertisements included pictures of clean, smart bar interiors with not a whiff of smoke to be seen, a sight somewhat at variance with the present situation, which only a total ban will solve.

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    The cover of the weekly Czech magazine, Instinkt, featuring Karlovy Vary film festival president Jiri Bartoska, with actor Jiri Machacek, both wreathed in cigarette smoke.