Advertisers support Puttnam proposals over self-regulation

Advertisers have thrown their weight behind robust recommendations on the self-regulation of advertising made by Lord Puttnam's joint committee on the Communications Bill.

The draft Bill itself was vague on the future of self-regulation for the industry and Ofcom's role in it. However, Puttnam's report states: "The advertising industry was justifiably disappointed that the draft Bill does not mark a clearer move in this direction (of self-regulation)."

ISBA welcomed the committee's recommendations that the Bill should state an intention to move toward self-regulation. Ian Twinn, the director of public affairs at ISBA, said: "It is good news that the committee recognises that what we are saying ought to be in the Bill. This is a good counter to a rather weak bit in the draft Bill policy paper."

The committee concluded that proposals to scrap restrictions on non-European Union companies buying UK broadcasters go too far. It recommends Ofcom tests each case based on criteria of "plurality to encourage diversity.

It also said Ofcom should be given greater powers over the BBC and changes to its charter, to be renewed in 2006, should be made before the Bill is published. ISBA also welcomed these recommendations.

ITV welcomed the report's support for single ownership of ITV.

The Government will now decide which of the committee's 148 recommendations it will insert into the Bill before it goes before Parliament next year.

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