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Hooker, hypnotist ads off ITC’s banned list

Commission proposes to update practice codes

LONDON — Hookers and hypnotists — but not politicians — could start to advertise themselves on British TV if new recommendations from regulators are adopted.

The Independent Television Commission (ITC) has released a consultation paper proposing to lift 16 specific bans and relax eight other restrictions to update practice codes that in some cases date from 1956.

Services and products that the ITC deems no longer ban-worthy include escort services, hypnotherapy, private investigators and hair-loss treatment clinics.

Responding to the proliferation of TV channels and to claims that viewers today are more sophisticated, the ITC also recommends a review of blanket bans on religious fund-raising, to allow space for church repair appeals, and “the occult,” which could be redefined to permit astrologers to advertise.

But the commission has no intention of reversing bans on guns, gun clubs and political advertising.

The ITC paper will next be discussed with the Consumers’ Assn., which has already voiced concern about viewers’ exposure to “manipulative, U.S.-style ads,” as well as with politicos and religious groups.

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