NEWS: Euro ad bodies unite to pre-empt EU

Europe’s advertising industry is close to drawing up a new voluntary code of standards to derail any moves by the European Union to impose statutory controls.

Europe’s advertising industry is close to drawing up a new voluntary

code of standards to derail any moves by the European Union to impose

statutory controls.



The guidelines are not intended to diminish the powers of national

regulatory bodies, such as Britain’s Advertising Standards Authority,

but to establish a set of principles about what is legal, decent, honest

and truthful.



The group of industry executives responsible for drawing up the

guidelines maintains that the initiative has nothing to do with a

provisional judgment made by the European Court last week, which could

prevent an EU country banning an advertisement which had already been

passed by another country (Campaign, 20 September).



The European Advertising Standards Alliance - a group made up of 22 ASA-

type bodies committed to promoting self-regulation as an alternative to

government legislation - is behind the move to produce the ‘core’ rules.

These are expected to be published in a so-called ‘blue book’ within the

next two months.



The work is being carried out by a liaison committee chaired by Michel

Reinarz, senior vice-president and director of communications at Nestle.



Christopher Ogden, the ASA’s deputy director-general and the chairman of

EASA, commented: ‘We have to allow for the huge cultural diversity

between European countries. But underneath it all, we share a sense of

decency and honesty alhough this has never been formalised.’



Ogden said the establishment of a pan-European code was a ‘logical

progression’ rather than a reaction to events. But he admitted: ‘The

threat of legislation still exists both at European and national

government level.’



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