Monday, November 13, 2006 - The Progress & Freedom Foundation Blog

Latest from Brussels on TVWF

Word is that representatives from the 25 European Union nations agreed today on language to update the Television Without Frontiers directive regulating broadcasting; the Associated Press has details. The debate focused largely on regulations restricting advertising -- how it can appear, how often, etc. The interest of some of us at PFF is the EU's goal of "harmonizing" regulations by applying broadcast rules to Internet transmissions, mobile video, etc. A piece yesterday in the International Herald Tribune touched on concerns about that potential overreach. Leading the call for a rewrite has been the UK, as I've written, but it appears that they've signed off on this latest compromise, even though some new media will be regulated. The article points out not everyone is happy:

"Nobody has explained to us really well what is and isn't covered," said Lucy Cronin, executive director of the European Digital Media Association, a lobbying group for companies like Google, Yahoo and

The compromise was reached the same day a key committee recommended moving forward on the TVWF revision; approval by the European Parliament is likely the second week of December. It then under the EU co-decision process has to go back to the Council, although I confess the EU process is a bit opaque to me. What's clear is that it can't become law until at least 2009, due to a mandatory wait after publication, etc. It's intended to be part of the EU's Lisbon agenda, its i2010 initiative to boost innovation in Europe to a level comparable to the US and Asia; of course, I've argued the directive likely will stifle innovation, so its in Europe's best interest to delay implementation as long as possible.

posted by Patrick Ross @ 5:17 PM | Mass Media