Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI – Jurisdictional confusion and overlap has allowed rampant billboard violations in the capital city, and authorities are none the wiser on effective ways to tackle the situation.
The law states that independent billboards (those not attached to buildings) should be sized between 140 and 200sq.m, but a Kinh Tế Đô Thị (Economy and Urban Affairs) report says several consumer electronic retailers like Pico and Media Mart have put up much larger hoardings.
In Cầu Giấy District, there are few violations, with most of the large billboards having surface areas of more than 160sq.m, but in Long Biên District, the billboards are as large as 600sq.m.
In April, local authorities warned firms about the oversized billboards and began dismantling some, including several on Xã Đàn, Lê Duẩn, Giải Phóng and Kim Mã streets.
However, several shops like Nguyễn Kim, Media Mart and Pico are still using oversized billboards.
The Kinh Tế Đô Thị report says that 29 of 30 districts in Hà Nội do not even bother to hand out billboard licenses.
Nguyễn Hồng Linh of the Link and Partners law firm said, “Authorities have to grant licenses to set up billboards, only than can relevant organisations check their quality and compliance. Then, when an enterprise violates regulations, concerned organisations can withdraw its license and force it to take down the violating billboards.”
In a conference on billboard management held recently, an official of the Đống Đa District Urban Management Division said that the Culture and Sports Division was responsible for managing billboards, citing Circular 10 issued in 2012 by the Ministry of Construction.
Circular 10 says permission for setting up billboards should be given with agreement from the cultural sector.
However, Cầu Giấy District officials said that it was the responsibility of the Urban Management Division.
They also said that some regulations contradicted others, so they did not know how to act on applications from enterprises to set up billboards.
Nguyễn Thị Tuyết Thanh, deputy head of the Ba Đình District Culture and Sports Division, said her district was the only one in the capital to give guidance on billboard licenses at its administrative centre.
“The guidance has been posted since June last year, but no enterprise has submitted an application until now,” she said.
Bùi Minh Hoàng, director of the Culture Management Division under the Hà Nội Department of Culture and Sports, said local authorities who do not understand the law were claiming that its provisions on billboard licensing were unclear.
The Law on Advertisement, which came into effect at the beginning of 2013, says that billboards with surface areas larger than 20sq.m should have permits issued by the Construction Ministry.
The law also says that issuing billboard licenses falls under the Construction Ministry’s jurisdiction.
Hoàng also said that the Construction Ministry’s Circular 10 was invalid.
The law was clear and sufficient, but violations were recurring because those in charge of implementing it were not fulfilling their management functions, he said. – VNS