AA warns of draft TV Directive implications

The Advertising Association (AA) is warning UK marketers that the next version of the European Union’s TV Without Frontiers (TVWF) directive could include calls for bans on advertising to children and a 9pm watershed for the advertising of alcoholic drinks.

The draft TVWF, which will replace the original 1989 directive, is going through the committee stage in the European Parliament. It will probably be renamed the Audio Visual Services Directive.

A number of European MPs on various committees have indicated their intentions to add amendments proposing restrictions on advertising to children and on drinks advertising. Although Kerry Neilson, head of European public affairs at the AA, says that the amendments are unlikely to make it into the final draft, "it is not impossible, and it is certainly something we need to have on our radar."

The news from the European Parliament committees comes as the advertising industry tries to respond to a recent report from the Office of the Children’s Commissioner, which also calls for a 9pm watershed for food advertising aimed at children.

In response, the AA’s Food Advertising Unit (FAU) points out that a full review of the Committee on Advertising Practice (CAP) broadcast and non-broadcast codes covering the area is already taking place, in response to the Ofcom consultation in June. Strict new rules on the content of food and soft drink television advertising to primary school children are expected. The CAP is committed to reviewing the non-broadcast code following Ofcom’s decision, expected this autumn.

Sue Eustace, a spokeswoman for the FAU, says that such a watershed "would be unjustifiably restrictive and tantamount to a ban which the Government has rejected as being disproportionate to the evidence."

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