Despite a pledge by the publishers association, the PPA, that publishers of ‘Lads’ Mags’ would make modesty boards freely available to retailers, an investigation this week by the newsagents group NFRN suggests the industry reponse is patchy at best.

According to the NFRN’s investigation, both Smiths News and Menzies Distribution can make branded modesty boards freely available for Nuts and Zoo magazine, via the distributors, Marketforce and Frontline. However other titles such as FHM from Bauer Media, Loaded from Loaded Media Ltd, Zip from Oohyeah and Maxim from Alpha Media Publishing offer no such protection.

NFRN said it was advised by Smiths News that non-branded modesty boards could be provided to retailers at a cost.

Commenting on the result of the NFRN’s investigation, national president Colin Fletcher said:  “Once again it is retailers who are let down by the lack of responsibility shown by some publishers for the offence their titles cause to parents with young children.

“My members are in the front line of customer complaints and do their best to abide by industry codes to ensure these titles are displayed in the manner recommended, but any display guidelines can only have a limited effect.

“If retailers wish to operate family friendly businesses and respond to parental concern about the sexual images on the front of ‘Lads’ Mags’ then the least publishers can do is to make modesty boards freely available via wholesalers. The alternative may be de-listing and no one wants to contemplate that, or do we?”