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People and Politics Forum 17. 03. 2008

"Should drinking in public be banned?"

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More information:

Alcohol Ban - Why more and more cities want to outlaw public drinking

Consumption of alcohol in public has long been taboo in the United States and many other countries. Now increasing numbers of German towns and cities want to ban public drinking. Municipal authorities are proposing fines of up to 1,000 euros in a bid to deter primarily the young from drinking in the street. The move comes in response to urgent calls for action from doctors, who are dealing with almost twice as many alcohol-related hospital admissions among young people since the year 2000. The eastern German city of Magdeburg has been the first to take the plunge, and a complete ban on public alcohol consumption has been in place in the town centre for a month.

Our Question is:

"Should drinking in public be banned?"

And a viewer in Germany - with the name of John Daniels - writes:

"A public ban on alcohol has only one reason: the commercialization of city centres. City centres are supposed to be clean and, especially, free from people who exhibit "misbehaviour" like homeless persons sitting on benches or young people drinking in public. (...) In Britain we can see where such a policy ends: "clean" cities, CCTV everywhere, alcohol bans everywhere, no benches at bus stations in order to get rid of "dossers" and so on. Conformity of behaviour is the goal and obviously also Germany is heading towards it. Politicians act innocent when they want to "protect youth".

Hossam Abul Hoda in Egypt disagrees:

"Measures should be enforced to prevent undue alcohol consumption in public, but they should not be directed at just one group in society. That's crucial. I believe a general comprehensive ban is needed."

Anne Rolf, Chile, says:

"I don't think a ban on alcohol consumption in public will work, and end binge-drinking behaviour. It just moves the problem away from public scrutiny and doesn't tackle the causes. And should sensible adults be denied their beers with friends in the park?"

Kingsley Kwaku Ekpe, Ghana:

"I don‘t think drinking in public places should be banned. Instead parents should accept responsibility and train their kids to do the right thing and educate them on the dangers of drinking."

Gerhard Seeger, Philippines:

"Drinking bouts in public with youngsters watching and possibly imitating should be banned. Lots of youngsters just enjoy defying bans...so they should be informed that alcohol is also a drug, but with more health risks."

Claus Stauffenberg, in Australia, elaborates:

"Individuals should have the right to enjoy drinking in public, in areas such as parks, beaches, so long as they do so responsibly and in moderation. Banning alcohol from such areas will divert time from the authorities in dealing with more serious policing issues. It would be better if communities and government deal more directly with the problem, by developing more youth groups and activities, to prevent bored adolescents from turning to hanging-out drinking to pass the time of day. Alcohol awareness courses conducted in schools would also be an advantage."

Thomas Gruber, Thailand:

"How many bans does Germany need? Why don't parents, teachers and politicians ask themselves why youngsters booze in public places? We weren't harmless when we were young either but most of us grew up to be decent people. Understanding and practical help is more worthwhile than going for bans all the time!"

Erwin Scholz, Costa Rica:

"In parks and squares and on the street,

Public drinkers may we not meet.

Still, if we accept it, things may be fine.

Understand the youthful vogue for wine,

But know that not all drinkers are drunken swine!"

Waltraud Maassen, New Zealand:

"In New Zealand there are ugly scenes with drunken youths,
especially at weekends. Anyone who sees this in the media is
soon ready to call for an alcohol ban. And there is in fact a
ban on alcohol in designated public areas, mostly in the city
centres. But I don't think that is the solution to this problem.
What's needed is more education in schools and universities
about the harm alcohol can do to the human body. Alcohol is
society's problem, so society should take responsbility for
solving it."

Aneta Friedrich, Poland:

"I don't think a ban will change anything. In Poland drinking
in public places is totally forbidden, yet we also have a
problem with drunk teenagers. Forbidden fruit is the sweetest.
In my opinion drinking in places such as parks, beaches and
squares shouldn't be banned. Maybe if access to alcohol were
harder for teenagers something would change."

The People and Politics desk reserves the right to abridge and edit texts.