Europe Takes Issue with British News Sponsorship Ruling

18 March 2003

British TV regulator the Independent Television Commission is under fire from the European Commission over a sponsorship ruling.

In August last year, the ITC reprimanded broadcaster CNBC Europe for a series of shows on the euro currency. It ruled the programmes were a “serious breach” of its sponsorship regulations because they were partly funded by a £190,000 ($297,815; €280,703) grant from the European Union.

Sponsorship of news and current affairs is banned under EU law, but the EC claims that in this case the funding does not count as sponsorship, which it defines as an organisation financing a programme “with a view to promoting its name, its trade mark, its image, its activities or its products.”

CNBC – which was banned from showing any more EU-funded programmes – is appealing the ruling, with a decision from the ITC expected next week. Both the broadcaster and the EC are threatening to take the matter to judicial review if necessary.

A result in favour of the EC position could set an important precedent for financing of news and current affairs programming.

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff