CNBC To Take ITC to Court Over European News Sponsorship Row

02 April 2003

Britain’s Independent Television Commission faces court action after insisting European Union funding for a news programme is forbidden.

Broadcaster CNBC Europe says it will seek judicial review of the regulator’s decision that the TV firm’s acceptance of £190,000 ($299,170; €274,555) from the EU to help make a series about the euro was a “serious breach” of UK sponsorship rules.

As reported last month [WAMN: 18-Mar-03], CNBC challenged the initial ruling. That challenge has now been rejected by the ITC, prompting CNBC to seek higher authority in the courts.

The regulator declared that it is “of paramount importance” to keep news programmes “editorially independent and not subject to sponsorship, whether by governments or any other body.”

CNBC – backed by the European Commission – claims the funding does not count as sponsorship and that the ruling breaches Europe’s Television Without Frontiers directive.

The broadcaster has gained further EU cash to make a series on European enlargement. Under the ITC’s ruling, these programmes cannot be shown in the UK.

Blasted CNBC: “Not only is the ITC's action totally out of step with the views of the EC and other European regulators, it is completely outdated in an era where there are more 24-hour cable and satellite channels than national daily newspapers in the UK.”

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff