Author Topic: An Opportunity to Frustrate Narconon Expansion in the UK  (Read 1252 times)

Offline scicrit

  • Met Xenu
  • Posts: 28
Some time ago, made a complaint to the UK Advertising Standards Authority[/url]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advertising_Standards_Authority_%28United_Kingdom%29[/url] about an entity called "Narconon Scotland". These people ran a dangerous "Get off drugs at home" scam, and attempted to sell victims vitamin/mineral packs costing £150 ($230) a week.

This complaint was apparently successful. https://scicrit.wordpress.com/2014/10/09/narconon-in-the-uk-part-three-the-advertising-standards-authority-takes-an-interest-in-narconon-scotland/ The extensive site they had build (which I saved to the Wayback Machine - details in previous link) has been in 'maintenance mode' for 3 months now.

The ASA is very hard indeed on medical claims. For example Hubbard's claim that drugs are stored in fatty tissue was recently removed from the Narconon UK site (another entity, distinct from Narconon Scotland) after I lodged another complaint with the ASA.

Since then I have learned two things:
(1) You do not have to be a UK citizen to lodge a complaint with the ASA about a website which originates in the UK.
(2) Tony Ortega has recently written about inside information which suggests that Narconon UK (among other European entities) is about to expand

So here's the point: If you see any advertising for Narconon UK online (print or online) please post it here, or email me via my blog's feedback page https://scicrit.wordpress.com/contact-us/ .

I will monitor these submissions and occasionally make a "How to complain about..." post on my blog (and here). This will include text that can simply be pasted into the "Describe your complaint" box in the ASA's online complaint form. This text will quote the relevant rules, and explain how they have been violated. It will often be recycled from previously successful complaints.

Making an online complaint to the ASA is quick, easy and absolutely confidential.

Most of the copy in US Narconon ads breaches the rules for  UK advertisements (and their websites are advertisements as long as they charge money for the service). For example, the ASA rules require that the advertiser holds objective evidence to support any claims they make - so this prevents them from making unsupported claims about a high success rate.

The only reason Narconon will get away with false claims here is if nobody complains.

If the whole world starts complaining about Narconon advertisements which breach the rules, this will create a lot of work for them, making it hard for them to get their message out, and damage their reputation.

If Narconon adopt a 'whack-a-mole' approach (taking one site down only to repeat the claims in a new one) the ASA can:

(1) Censure them publicly on their website
(2) Require that all UK Narconon advertising is pre-cleared by the ASA

There is another interesting possibility... but I will save this for a future post. Please, help us out, world!




Offline BigBeard

  • Hill 10 Situation
  • Posts: 636
Re: An Opportunity to Frustrate Narconon Expansion in the UK
« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2015, 08:08 »
Does this only apply to advertising that originates in the UK, or does it also include advertising originating elsewhere that's visible in the UK?

Considering recent EU decisions, e.g., "Right to Privacy", this would be nice to know.
BigBeard

Offline scicrit

  • Met Xenu
  • Posts: 28
Re: An Opportunity to Frustrate Narconon Expansion in the UK
« Reply #2 on: February 16, 2015, 15:03 »
I'm still looking into this, but there are options for 'cross boarder complaints' - which seems to describe advertising originating in other countries but aimed at the UK. I assume that, in these cases, the ASA will contact and work with comparable organisations in the country of origin.

However, this approach would seem far less likely to succeed and less cost-effective than enlisting the help of activists throughout the world to help us stomp on every false claim made by Narconon entities operating within the UK.

This could become a major embarrassment for the CofS internationally, especially if they repeat offences (as they cannot help but do - it's holy writ, after all) and attract well-publicised sanctions from the ASA.

There is another possible wrinkle... If you respond to a advertisement originating in the UK any material you receive as a direct result must also obey the rules - so if a UK Narconon entity sends you US 'education' leaflets that include the 'drugs are stored in fat cells' nonsense, they are busted.

The detailed rules are set down in this document - the CAP Code http://www.cap.org.uk/Advertising-Codes/~/media/Files/CAP/Codes%20CAP%20pdf/The%20CAP%20Code.ashx and they are a potential treasure trove.

Offline BigBeard

  • Hill 10 Situation
  • Posts: 636
Re: An Opportunity to Frustrate Narconon Expansion in the UK
« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2015, 17:39 »
Thanks for the info. Downloaded 'The CAP Code', now I just have to find some time to study on it.
BigBeard

Offline scicrit

  • Met Xenu
  • Posts: 28
Re: An Opportunity to Frustrate Narconon Expansion in the UK
« Reply #4 on: February 17, 2015, 14:30 »
I have already made a (successful) complaint against 'Narconon Scotland'. I discuss it in this post. https://scicrit.wordpress.com/2014/10/09/narconon-in-the-uk-part-three-the-advertising-standards-authority-takes-an-interest-in-narconon-scotland/

At the bottom is the text of the complaint I made. This quotes a number of  the rules in the CAP code and describes why I think that they apply to claims made by Narconon. I hope this might provide some perspective.

I also recently published a step-by-step guide to complaining about the recent Scientology (Volunteer Minsters) full-page advertisement in the UK magazine "New Statesman"

It includes a suggested complaint which quotes other CAP code rules about misleading content (I argued that Scientology represented the VM's to be comparable to relief organisations like the Red Cross). https://scicrit.wordpress.com/2015/02/16/how-to-complain-about-the-scientology-advertisement-in-the-new-statesman/ That one is still pending.

This approach is quite legalistic, but quite effective so far.

Offline Mary_McConnell

  • High Value Target
  • Posts: 2,816
    • Formerly Fooled Finally Free of The Deceptive Cult Called Scientology
Re: An Opportunity to Frustrate Narconon Expansion in the UK
« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2017, 23:36 »
Belated thanks for this. Will bookmark it and file if I come across any medical claims in UK Narconon ads 
I am a volunteer advocate for victims of the Narconon scam. I am a former scientologist. I post anonymously. Mary McConnell is my long time nom de plume. Feel free to contact me for assistance in righting the wrongs.