[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Saturday, 25 March 2006, 02:31 GMT
Newsagents act over 'lads mags'
Lad mags
No longer on the bottom shelves
Newspapers and magazines with sexual content are to be moved to higher shelves under new guidelines.

The deal, struck between newsagents and Home Office officials, is not legally binding but trading standards will be able to reprimand offending outlets.

MPs and campaigners had raised concerns about explicit content in so-called "lad mags" and some tabloid newspapers.

The advice being issued to 19,000 newsagents is to display such magazines out of the sight of children.

But the new measures will not specify they should be placed on the top shelf.

The guidelines do not name any magazines but titles such as Loaded, Nuts and Zoo are likely to be included in its remit.

You cannot sell cigarettes to children, you cannot sell glue to children, but you can sell hardcore porn to children
Diane Abbott MP

Newspapers such as the Daily Sport can remain on the bottom shelf if they are folded in a way to conceal sexually explicit content.

The guidelines were drawn up by the National Federation of Retail Newsagents (NFRN), which represents 19,000 independent newsagents.

Spokesman Colin Finch said although it was a voluntary code extending existing restrictions on top shelf titles, trading standards officials could reprimand offenders.

But Diane Abbott, the MP for Hackney in east London where one newsagent has campaigned for 15 years on this issue, is backing a petition pushing for legislation.

She said: "You cannot sell cigarettes to children, you cannot sell glue to children, but you can sell hardcore porn to children. That is not right."

Children's rights

Home Office officials met the NRFN earlier this March and newsagents will receive the guidelines in the next few days.

A Home Office spokeswoman said: "We are aware of concern that has been expressed about sexually provocative material which is commonly available on the lower shelves of newsagents' shops.

"We are determined to ensure that the interests of children are appropriately safeguarded in this regard."

'Why the world needs lads'
09 Dec 05 |  Magazine
'What are lad mags doing to us?'
02 Dec 05 |  Magazine
From babes to babies
30 May 03 |  UK


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific