Sweden was this week expected to increase the pressure for a pan-European ban on TV advertising to children.
Swedish minister for culture Marita Ulksvog was expected to speak in favour of a ban at a meeting of the influential European Cultural Council in Brussels.
Among other issues, the council is looking at the protection of minors in the digital age. Its recommendations will form the basis of future amendments to the Television Without Frontiers directive which regulates European broadcasting. It is now expected to recommend further consultation with industry.
Sweden believes its laws against advertising aimed at under-12s should be extended to the rest of Europe. Many in the UK ad industry expect the country to use its presidency of the EU, which it takes up at the beginning of next year, to force through a ban.
But sources in Sweden say the country is more likely to wait for the next review of European broadcasting law in autumn 2001. By then, a wide-ranging study into the effect of advertising on children, which Sweden is contributing to, will be complete.
Hans Sand, head of the Swedish government’s cultural delegation to the EU, says: “Sweden’s official line is that there should be laws protecting under-12s from advertising. But I fear it might be counter-productive to advance the issue during our presidency of the EU.”
Leading figures in European advertising discussed advertising and children at an Advertising Association conference in London this week.