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
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
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.