Advertisers warn of TV ’Iron Curtain’ in face of Euro checks

Advertisers and broadcasters have declared war on proposals to allow countries across Europe to block TV transmissions beamed in from beyond their borders.

Advertisers and broadcasters have declared war on proposals to

allow countries across Europe to block TV transmissions beamed in from

beyond their borders.



They believe that if a convention being drawn up by the Council of

Europe is approved, it will be doubly difficult to sweep away some of

the continent’s most contentious restrictions, notably France’s Loi

Evin, which bans alcohol advertising, and Greece’s restrictions on toy

advertising to children.



The proposals fly in the face of the EU’s 1989 Television Without

Frontiers directive, which rules that if a broadcast is legal in its

country of origin it is also legal in any country to which it is

transmitted.



The European Association of Advertising Agencies has voiced its

opposition to the initiative while Britain’s Advertising Association has

urged the UK Government to withdraw its support.



Both are pressing for changes before the draft convention is finalised

at next month’s meeting of the Council of Europe’s standing committee on

audio-visual issues.



Lionel Stanbrook, the AA’s deputy director-general, said: ’All this is

very disappointing for us. It will allow some countries to bring down

the Iron Curtain on broadcasting.’



Industry lobbyists claim that the reasons given by some countries for

supporting the convention - to guard children from unwelcome advertising

and to prevent pornographic programming - are really a smokescreen for

unfair protection of national industries.



The convention would not affect broadcasts within the EU which would

still be covered by the directive. But it could disrupt transmissions

from within the EU to other member countries of the Council of Europe.