Feeds

EU regulation attacked as censorship

Television rules for all media

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

Update Libertarians have got a bee in their bonnet over European Commission proposals to regulate commercial audio and video broadcasts over the internet and mobile phones.

EU commissioner for Information Society and Media Viviane Reding was forced to defend herself against accusations of censorship during a press conference in Brussels yesterday, where a meeting of European Union culture ministers had given broad agreement to the commission proposal, the Audio-Visual Media Services Without Frontiers Directive.

The proposals had "nothing to do with free speech", she said. The aim was to protect children and prevent the incitement of hatred, reported Reuters news agency.

Some content "goes too far", she said, and ministers had agreed that such broadcasts threaten to "destroy our society". The new rules were about protecting "basic societal values".

The Commission is sensitive to accusations that its proposed new media regulations will censor online content. They are only intended to apply to commercial content, for a start. They have been devised by taking the 1989 Television Without Frontiers Directive out of the drawer and sprucing it up a little.

The application of Audio-Visual Media Services Without Frontiers is limited to matters like the prevention of certain programmes being shown to children - a new media watershed, if you like.

Then there are some restrictions on advertising, such as making sure advertisements can be distinguished from content and banning product placement from news, childrens, documentary and current affairs programmes.

It will effectively prevent your kids from losing their innocence and your dear old mum from being conned by the people she admires.

In some of its clauses the proposed directive is laxer than before. The right to reply forced on old-school television broadcasters will not be applied to new media. If you don't like what an internet documentary movie maker says about you and your kin, you'll either have to lump it or make your own documentary to set the record straight.

And if they are applied in their current form they will governed by the country of origin principle, which was coincidentally first used with the 1989 television directive. The idea behind the whole scheme is to harmonise rules across the whole European Union so that programme makers don't lose themselves in a bureaucratic labyrinth every time they try and sell their wares to another member country.

Getting everyone to agree to the same set of rules over something as culturally sensitive as television, the country of origin principle allows each country to keep their old rules. But programme makers must adhere only to their national broadcast regulations. If they do that, then they can sell their programmes anywhere is in the Union, regardless of how their home rules differ to the broadcast regulations of the country to which they are exporting.

Censorship, under the old and proposed European regulations, is largely a national issue.®

See the proposed directive here.

Top three mobile application threats

More from The Register

next story
Stick a 4K in them: Super high-res TVs are DONE
4,000 pixels is niche now... Don't say we didn't warn you
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate reality' story to be made into TV series
Amazon Studios, Ridley Scott firm to produce The Man in the High Castle
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Amazon Reveals One Weird Trick: A Loss On Almost $20bn In Sales
Investors really hate it: Share price plunge as growth SLOWS in key AWS division
Bose says today is F*** With Dre Day: Beats sued in patent battle
Music gear giant seeks some of that sweet, sweet Apple pie
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Too many IT conferences to cover? MICROSOFT to the RESCUE!
Yet more word of cuts emerges from Redmond
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.