The European Court is paving the way for a European system of
advertising self-regulation that would prevent a country from banning an
ad if it has been approved by another member state.
It could mean the Advertising Standards Authority would no longer have
the power to ban controversial posters by rebel advertisers such as
Benetton if advertising watchdogs in Italy have given them the go ahead.
In a provisional judgment, the European Court told Sweden that it had no
right to take action against a company whose ad was beamed into the
country on a satellite television channel because the commercial was
approved by Britain’s Independent Television Commission.
The Italian publisher, De Agostini, had appealed to the court against a
fine imposed on its Swedish office following the appearance of an ad on
TV3 for the children’s partwork, All About Dinosaurs.
Sweden bans ads aimed at children under 12. But the European Court’s
provisional decision is that it cannot interfere with the operations of
a legally licensed channel.
Lionel Stanbrook, the Advertising Association’s deputy director-general,
gave the news a cautious welcome.