EU Report Weakens Case for Ban on Children’s Ads

26 April 2001

Attempts led by the Swedish government to implement a ban on advertising to children across the European Union appear to have been defeated, following the publication of an EC study recommending that no further restrictions on such marketing are needed.

The report investigated the existing legislative and self-regulatory systems governing child-oriented marketing across the fifteen EU states, encompassing TV (the most heavily regulated medium), print, cinema, web, outdoor and radio ads. It concluded that the EU’s own Television Without Frontiers Directive represented the most effective and pliable means of looking after children, and that self-regulation adequately augmented current legislation.

Sweden has already introduced a ban on advertising to children domestically and had hoped to extend this across the other fourteen member-states during its presidency of the EU [WAMN:16-Feb-01].

However, these hopes appear to have been dashed by the release of the new report. Commented Sara Soltani, director of the Children’s Programme (a research and lobbying organisation): “We sincerely hope that this report will see an end to calls for the kind of draconian legislation at a European level that would decimate investment in high-quality children’s programming to the detriment of children across the EU.”

These sentiments were echoed by British commercial TV network ITV, which stated: “Broadcasters often have to counter the argument that there is no effective statutory regulation of advertising in and around children’s programmes. The publication of 1,000 pages of independent research setting out the measures in place across Europe must forever bury this myth.”

News Source: CampaignLive (UK)