The European Parliament is to drop demands for the V-chip to be
installed in all new television sets as part of the European Union-wide
plan to classify all TV programmes.
Instead, Euro MPs will ask the Brussels-based European Commission to
carry out a detailed feasibility study into the V-chip as a means of
curbing violence being watched by young viewers.
The climbdown was expected this Thursday (20 March) during negotiations
between Euro MPs and ministers from the 15 EU states on a new European
The decision is a victory for the British Government and the Advertising
Association, which has lobbied hard against the European Parliament’s
demand for new TV sets to include the device within a year of agreement
on Europe-wide standard.
The AA scored a second victory this week when its arguments against the
V-chip were backed by an influential Parliamentary committee.
The House of Lords committee on Europe said the ’practical difficulties
are immense’ and legislation ’would be hasty’. It backed the idea of a
Giving evidence to the committee, Lionel Stanbrook, the AA’s deputy
director-general, said a secure case had not been made that violent
programmes create violent children and the V-chip was likely to be used
only by parents who did not need to use it.
Stanbrook warned that plans to give programmes ratings for sex, violence
and bad language could ’threaten the commercial base of independent
Potential advertisers would not be keen to buy a spot during a high
’To be obliged to rate each advertisement would become an insurmountable
task for either the broadcaster or an independent ratings body,’ he told
’As the V-chip could encode any signal, it might be possible to block
whole advertisement breaks or specific product categories, and
potentially threaten the whole structure of commercial
Meanwhile, British ministers welcomed the European Parliament’s decision
to reject demands to include in the directive curbs on advertising aimed
at children and for medicine, alcohol and teleshopping.