The code was introduced following a review on the commercialisation and sexualisation of childhood.
The report, compiled by chief executive of Mothers’ Union Reg Bailey, made 14 recommendations based on concerns of parents. These included ensuring that magazines and newspapers with sexualised images on their covers are not in easy sight of children.
Welcoming the recommendations, the Association of News Retailing (ANR) has agreed an ‘informal’ code of practice that recognises that some covers of ‘lads mags’ may offend some customers and that to minimise this, retailers should not display them at children’s eye-level.
It also recommended that these titles are not displayed adjacent to children’s titles and comics, and that if there are space restraints, retailers should partially cover up any potentially offensive titles with others.
ANR managing director John Lennon said that it will “work with government, publishers and wholesalers to ensure that retailers are aware of the code of practice and are able to comply”.