Yesterday, June 27, Prague City Council passed new legislation to limit advertising in the city. The new legislation is designed to improve the city’s visual environment and make it a better place to live.

The law limits where advertisements can be placed, as well as their size message. The primary purpose of the law is to restrict the prevalence and noise of advertising. However, it also attempts to instill moral values.

Now, advertisements cannot conflict with moral values, more specifically, it cannot discriminate based on race, sex, or nationality. Additionally, advertisements cannot incite religious or national sentiment, degrade human dignity, induce fear, or contain pornographic and violent material.

“Advertising smog fundamentally degrades the appearance of the city. I perceive advertising restrictions as a very important step towards cultivating the environment in which we live,” said Ondřej Boháč, Director of IPR Prague.

Despite the important moral values behind the plan, it is also an impactful way to improve Prague’s visual surroundings. This, combined with a plan approved in January, will fully eliminate advertising in Prague Monument Reserve, as well as Prague’s parks, damns, natural embankments, islands, cycling trails, and in the area around intersections.

The law will also restrict advertising on streetlight poles, tramway lines, signposts, flag poles, and other columns to three sign sizes. In Nusle Dejvice, Karlín, and Bubenec, only the smallest sign will be an option.

“Today, the city is overwhelmed by advertising media, which not only creates visual ballast but also sometimes prevents movement on the sidewalk or a safe outlook at a crossroads,” said Deputy Mayor Petra Kolínská, “The new rules will bring more security and quality to the Prague area. . .” she continued.

Like most legislation, it will take a while before it is in effect. The regulations will be active on January 1, 2018. However, it is not clear when the current advertisements will be taken down. “How fast the ads will actually disappear depends on the arrangement of the contractual relations between the city and the providers of advertising systems,” according to the same press release.

The law will also constrict advertising for electoral campaigns to two months before an election. This regulation is an attempt to cause event the playing field between candidates and ensure fair elections.

“As a next step, we suggest creating rules for low-cost cultural and social advertising – various invitations to concerts, theater, or debates. We think that there should be a cheaper alternative to the commercial offer, which could also allow the black hole to be reduced,” said Boháč.

While still advertisements, this future initiative might improve the cities image, especially in the context of promoting public spaces.