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Tighter control of advertising displays in Hanoi
Anh Kiet 12:04, 2024/06/11
Hanoi authorities have removed some 460 illegal billboards and more than 14,000 banners.

Hanoi has strengthened citywide legal regulations on advertising since 2018 with the latest regulations issued in April 2024 to tighten control over advertising displays, especially outdoor advertising.

Meanwhile, some districts have held conferences to disseminate laws on advertising, conducted inspections, and dealt with infringements related to outdoor advertising throughout the city.

In Dong Da District, with a high population density and many private businesses, there is a large amount of outdoor advertising. The district government plans to install 24 free billboards in 21 wards. 

 Hanoi authorities inspect outdoor advertising in Dong Da district. Photo: VGP

Since 2018, authorities have removed around 460 illegal billboards and more than 14,000 banners hanging on trees, electricity poles, and shops. More than 30 businesses that installed illegal billboards have been fined a total of over VND150 million (US$5,900).

Other districts such as Hai Ba Trung, Thuong Tin, Dan Phuong have held an emulation campaign to "keep villages bright, green, clean, beautiful, and safe" and have strengthened management, conducting regular and irregular inspection of advertising activities to strictly deal with violations.

According to the Hanoi Department of Culture and Sports, there are currently more than 11,880 advertising boards in the capital. From 2018 to the first quarter of 2024, the department has inspected and dealt with hundreds of advertising violations, imposing fines totalling over VND6.8 billion ($267,480).

Common offences include oversized billboards, unauthorised billboard placement or content, and businesses deliberately distributing more flyers than permitted. Current regulations allow businesses to display approximately 20-50 flyers or posters for each music show, trade fair or exhibition. However, the actual number of posters and flyers displayed is usually higher.

Over the past six years, the Hanoi Department of Information and Communication has focused on cracking down on the advertising of prohibited products and services. By reviewing 253 online sites, the department has compiled 92 units that violated advertising laws.

The department used the Brand Name Identification Message System to send 650 messages to summon offenders, dealt with eight organisations and five individuals for spam messages and calls, and asked telecommunication operators to suspend services to over 4,870 phone numbers making illegal advertisements. The department coordinated with district People's Committees to impose administrative fines of over VND240 million ($9,440) on more than 150 subscribers making spam calls. 

  O Cho Dua, an intersection in Hanoi with a high density of billboards. Photo: Ngoc Tu/The Hanoi Times

Specific move

In 2018, the city developed major plans called 'Planning of Outdoor Advertising Panels to 2020 with an Orientation to 2030' and 'Regulations on Outdoor Advertising Activities' to regulate the installation of outdoor advertising billboards in Hanoi and address unauthorised outdoor advertising.

Surveys by Ky Nguyen Advertising and Event JSC, the company responsible for developing the first draft, showed that outdoor advertising in Hanoi was almost out of control. Most outdoor billboards did not comply with national regulations on size, location or licensing, leading to a higher risk of traffic accidents and explosions.

According to the above plan, outdoor billboards will have to comply with certain sizes. Smaller billboards will be banned from overpasses, Red River bridges and historical and cultural parks. The plan requires all billboards to be the same size and to be placed in only one of 14,000 approved areas.

Hanoi's Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism stressed that the disorder of outdoor advertising has scarred the urban landscape. More advertising space means less green space in the capital.

The city has designated areas where advertising is prohibited, including Ba Dinh Square, around Hoan Kiem Lake, the Old Quarter, offices of Party, State, and government agencies, police stations, embassies, and headquarters of international organisations.

Advertising has been restricted in places such as August 19 Square in front of the Hanoi Opera House, the National Convention Center and the city's major lakes. The plans also regulate advertising on private buildings and houses. 

Billboards must not be mounted on buildings or cover the roof. Billboards on building facades must be less than two metres high and no wider than the width of the building.

Each office or shop can display its name on only one sign. Such signs are limited to a maximum height of two metres if the sign is horizontal, or a maximum height of four metres if the sign is vertical.

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