PN111006B

Embargo: Immediate Wednesday 11th October 2006

Contact: Owen Williams 020 7219 8659

LORDS TO INVESTIGATE AMS DIRECTIVE

The House of Lords European Union Committee are next week holding their first evidence session in their inquiry into the EU's Audiovisual Media Services Directive.

The EU's proposals, which would extend and update the 1989 Directive 'TV Without Frontiers', seek to create a level playing field between traditional TV based broadcasts and the growing market of video on demand services and internet based broadcasters.

The proposals would see a dramatic increase in the amount of media regulated by EU and national regulators, with websites featuring video content such as YouTube and many news agencies and newspapers' websites included.

The proposals would also liberalise controls on alternative advertising techniques by, for example, allowing paid for product placement on UK television for the first time.

Areas of regulation covered by the EU's proposals include:

  • Protection of minors,

  • Incitement of hatred on the basis of sex, ethnicity, religion, disability, age or sexual orientation.

  • Commercial communications such as advertising, sponsorship, teleshopping and product placement.

The Committee will seek to identify the likely effect of the proposals on UK broadcasters and whether they achieve an appropriate balance between harmonisation of regulation to ensure a vigorous single market in multimedia services and the rights of member states to control audiovisual media services in a way that reflects their own national broadcasting culture.

Commenting ahead of the first evidence session Lord Woolmer, Chairman of the Committee investigating the proposals, said:

"The proposals put forward by the EU bring within the regulatory framework areas of the media previously untouched by broadcasting legislation. We will seek to find out if the EU's plans are truly the best way to regulate these new media broadcasters.

"Britain is at the cutting edge of new media and alternative broadcasters in Europe and we are keen to ensure that the proposals will not damage this growing industry in seeking to incorporate them into EU regulation."

Notes to Editors

1. The first public evidence session will take place on Monday 16 October from 16:15 in Committee Room 2A.

The witnesses who will give evidence at this session are:

16:15

John Dickie, Head of Corporate Affairs, BBC.

Wes Himes, Director, European Digital Media Association (EDiMA).

17:15

Jeremy Beale, Head of E-Business Group, CBI.

Williams Brocklehurst, Policy Advisor, CBI.

2. The members of the House of Lords EU Sub-Committee on the Internal Market (Sub-B) who will conduct the inquiry are:

Lord Woolmer of Leeds (Chairman)

Baroness Eccles of Moulton

Lord Fearn

Lord Fyfe of Fairfield

Lord Geddes

Lord Haskel

Lord Roper

Lord St John of Bletso

Lord Swinfen

Lord Walpole

3. Details of the inquiry including the original call for evidence can be found here:

http://www.parliament.uk/parliamentary_committees/lords_s_comm_b.cfm

[ENDS]