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Pop star Bryan Adams challenged by Nepali NGOs on alcohol promotion

We love your music, but we do not like that you come to Nepal to promote alcohol! This was the challenge from Nepali NGOs to the famous pop star Bryan Adams when he visited Kathmandu recently.

Reports say that Bryan Adams, 51 year old Canadian singer and song-writer, "had the crowd wrapped around his nimble fingers" when he performed for thousands of fans at Dashrath Rangashala Stadium in Kathmandu on Saturday. This was the first time ever that an international pop star held a big concert in Nepal, and the expectation were high, as Bryan Adams has many devoted fans in the country.

However, Bryan Adams did not only bring to Nepal his songs and a good backing band of 50 musicians. His concert in Kathmandu, which is part of a larger tour, also brought along the promotion of beer and spirits. Adams’ tour is heavily sponsored by multinational companies, and McDowell’s whisky is listed as main sponsor at Bryan Adams’ own web site. Another very prominent sponsor is Tuborg, the Danish beer company, with its slogan “The fun starts here”!

The heavy promotion of alcohol made Nepali NGOs raise their voice in protest. Banners were placed on several points around the concert arena: “We love you Bryan but oppose alcohol promotion”. The initiative to the protest was taken by the Nepal Alcohol Policy Alliance (NAPA); a forum for organisations working with health, welfare, human rights, women, children and other social issues in Nepal. In a statement issued before the concert NAPA stated that accompanying advertisements of beverages might lure the youth to alcoholism as they are strongly influenced by this kind of musical concerts.

Sumnima Tuladhar, national coordinator of NAPA, requested stakeholders not to promote alcohol through music and accused the government of being too soft on the campaigns to promote and publicise alcoholic products. “Government should introduce tough measures to regulate the production, sale and marketing of alcoholic beverages, Tuladhar said.

On a different note it is interesting to see that JPR Events, the company organising Bryan Adams’ concert tour, lists a number of large multinational alcohol producers among their 14 portrayed clients at their web site: United Breweries, Seagram’s, Diageo, SABMiller, Beam Global Spirits & Wine and also the tobacco company Philip Morris.

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