Government to fight EU plan to ban ads targeted at children

The Government has pledged to oppose moves for a European-wide ban on the advertising of children’s products.

The Government has pledged to oppose moves for a European-wide ban

on the advertising of children’s products.



The Government came off the fence after the Tory Opposition decided to

highlight Sweden’s calls for an EU ban as part of William Hague’s attack

on the ’unnecessary regulation’ coming from the EU.



Although ministers have expressed concern about the content of

children’s television programmes, they insist the UK will oppose

Sweden’s attempt to put an ad ban on the EU’s agenda when it holds its

presidency in 2001.



Janet Anderson, the broadcasting minister, said: ’The Government

believes that there is a place for children’s advertising within the

properly regulated framework overseen by the Independent Television

Commission.’



Anderson said that although she had some sympathy with demands for a ban

during the pre-Christmas ads blitz, the Government has no intention of

imposing such a ban.



A Government source added: ’This is a matter that should be left to

individual member states. We do not see a role for the EU in this

area.’



Downing Street is known to be concerned that Tory attacks on Labour’s

’nanny state’ tendencies are finding favour with some voters, and this

is thought to have influenced the Government’s hard line on the

issue.



Peter Ainsworth, the Shadow culture secretary, attacked Sweden’s plan as

’patronising’. He warned: ’It would be counterproductive, resulting in

less investment in children’s programming and leading simply to more

imports of cheap cartoons.’



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